Staff posing

WEST HAVEN, Conn. – On Friday, September 2, 2022, Stop & Shop in West Haven announced a $12,500 donation in Stop & Shop gift cards to Bailey Middle School to expand its food pantry.

“Bailey Middle School is incredibly grateful for the extremely generous support Stop & Shop is giving to our school community as we head back for the 2022-2023 school year,” said Stacy Sutton, Assistant Principal at Bailey. “The past few years have been challenging in so many ways, and food security is more difficult than ever.

“Thanks to Stop & Shop, we will be able to extend our aid to our students and families as we continue to move forward post-pandemic. This year, the Bailey community is uniting to ensure our students achieve positive growth in all aspects of their lives. The Bailey community knows that proper nutrition is essential to a successful student. We appreciate that Stop & Shop does as well.”

The food pantry at Bailey Middle School began in the early months of the Covid-19 pandemic and was created by Grace Novak, a West Haven High School Class of 2022 graduate. Novak realized how food insecurity was affecting many kids in West Haven so she started the “Fill a Bag, Fuel a Mind” club at the high school, before expanding it to the middle school.

Once the pantry was up and running at WHHS, Novak reached out to Bailey to gauge its interest, and the middle school said yes. The club started at Bailey in the Fall of 2020 and has been an incredible success, receiving an outpouring of support from the West Haven community. Middle school students in need can go to any adult in the building and ask to go to the pantry where they can shop and fill a bag with essential items. In addition to food items such as snacks, meals, and microwavable food, there are also personal hygiene items for families such as shampoo and conditioner.

The Bailey Middle School Stop & Shop School Food Pantry is one of over 130 school food pantries that Stop & Shop supports.