RICHMOND - Looking around the "Falcon Families" pantry, it looks like any other in the community - except that this one is housed in Huguenot High School.
Principal Jafar Barakat says this program started last year when 45 students were identified as homeless in this one school...this year there are likely even more.
"Some of our students come to us hungry," he says. "Some of our students come to us without having the opportunity to have a proper bath."
A partnership with local churches keeps shelves stocked with toiletries, clothing and food that's easy to prepare, easy to eat and easy to move from place to place.
"They are jumping from houses to shelters to hotels that we like to make the food items something they can travel with," says social worker Alia Adlich.
The school needs more donations to keep the pantry open and available to homeless students and their families...items that many of us take for granted, meeting social, emotional and academic needs.
"If we send food home and they have a full belly that night they're more likely to come to school the next day and focus on what they need to make themselves successful in the world," Adlich says.
"We work, we collaborate together to make sure we're supporting the whole child," Barakat says.
A study by Project Hope Virginia found there were more than 13,000 homeless students during the 2011-2012 school year.
Fairfax had the most with over 2,500.
Richmond ranked at number two, with nearly 1,500.
During that same school year, Henrico had 952 homeless students. 838 homeless students were enrolled at Chesterfield schools. Petersburg had 396.
Copyright 2013 by Young Broadcasting of Richmond
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