For six years, Pamela Pritchard has shelled out her own money to buy granola bars for her students.
"Teaching is tough when students are hungry," said the Bolingbrook High School English teacher.
Her students would ask for a dollar for fries in the cafeteria or $.75 to buy something from the vending machine. Some students don't have food at home to eat, she said. Others have a heavy courseload, no lunch period and no time to grab something to eat.
To give her students a healthy snack, Pritchard starting buying a box of granola bars. She'd replenish the supply, which would usually run out about every three weeks or so.
But lately, she's been running to Costco weekly to replenish her granola bar supply. The word of her snack stash has spread, and hungry students not in her classes will stop by to grab one.
After running into a student at Costco who was amazed Pritchard was "still buying granola bars," Pritchard decided to write a letter to Costco about a possible snack donation.
Soon after, Costco employee Michelle McMurray contacted Pritchard and donated a variety of healthy snacks to Pritchard's classroom.
"Ms. McMurray has become like an advocate for my students and have pledged to help me out with providing a healthy snack for those kids who need something to eat," Pritchard said.
Pritchard recently brought a "thank you" note from her students to McMurray. She is affectionately known as the "Costco lady" to the class.
Costco General Manager Chris Davis said the store's budget is limited, and the store looks for the greatest need in the community to serve. The store was immediately drawn to Pritchard's cause, Davis said.
“We do this where there is need,” said Cyndi DeVoss of the Costco Marketing Department.
Pritchard said she would have continued to buy granola bars if she hadn't heard back from Costco. She's working with McMurray for healthy snack opportunities in the future.
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