Family Focus

Charlotte middle school students hope to rebuild vandalized food pantry

Last December, two Piedmont students recognized that in the shadow of the housing crisis and the ramifications of the coronavirus, communities across the country were facing a complex convergence of inequity and financial struggles.

They built and installed the outdoor food pantry to feed those in need.

Since January, the little food pantry has been sitting on the lawn of Piedmont Middle School.

It was a very special community school project to help feed the community, many of whom are homeless and living in a “tent city,” which was within walking distance to the school.

Over the summer, school staff found the pantry vandalized.

A door was broken off, shelves ripped from the structure and the pantry was thrown off its foundation and tossed into a mangled heap.

Where many would see a challenge, three Piedmont students found it as an opportunity.

Jimmy, Jason and Emmanuel are kids with a mission to rebuild this vital piece of the school’s community outreach.

“I thought it was really messed up for someone to vandalize it,” Emmanuel said. “It was something that was helping our community, so that’s really messed up. So, we’re going to rebuild it.”

Because of the extent of the damage to the pantry, they will draw up new plans and need to find the money to buy the building materials.

“A lot of the people in the community don’t have much, so it will just be great for us to help give back,” Jason said.

Many of the students at Piedmont have developed a love for doing good deeds for others.

Their giving spirit has been part of the culture of the school since 1925 and is ingrained in the staff and students.

“You never know what people are going through, and they may need food. So, we’ll have the food right here or other resources they need,” Jimmy said. “I think this will help the community.”

Life for a lot of people isn’t easy, but these three are focused on doing their part for the common good of everyone.

With all the challenges facing the community, it is obvious that Emmanuel, Jason and Jimmy are committed to making life better for people who are less fortunate.

If you have an inspiring story, please contact Kevin Campbell, WSOC-TV/WAXN-TV/Telemundo Charlotte public affairs manager, at