After serving Mathews Local School students for more than a year through their food backpack program, the founders of Mustangs Care have expanded the program to reach even more students. In October, they opened a food pantry at Mathews High School to compliment their backpack program.
“Our goal was to always serve the entire district, all ages of kids. We just started small to make sure we did not over promise what we could raise funds for and support. We were overwhelmed with community donations last year. Those were able to support our backpack program and so we thought if we started the pantry, the community would come through for us and support it and so far they have,” said Jessica Licata.
Jessica Licata and her husband Tim founded Mustangs Care in the summer of 2018 after partnering with the Fowler United Methodist Church and Pastor Mary Prior. In the fall of 2018, Mustangs Care sent backpacks full of food home with students in need in kindergarten, first and second grades. In January of 2019, Mustangs Care expanded, distributing food backpacks to students grades 3-6. Through the backpack program, students are able to receive two breakfasts, two lunches, two dinners, two snacks and a fruit or vegetable each weekend of the school year. Students at the high school are able to utilize the pantry whenever a need arises. The pantry contains non-perishable food items and personal care items such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, deodorant and feminine hygiene products.
“I am very pleased with the Mustangs Care program. We have students stopping two or three days a week to take home food for the evening or for breakfast the following day. We’ve also had a need among our students for hygiene products,” said Mathews High School Principal Jim Stitt.
At the beginning of the year, registration forms were sent home with every student in the district. Beyond the registration forms, there are no other requirements for the program. Mustangs Care is available to any student regardless of their financial status. Mustangs Care accepts monetary donations through Fowler United Methodist Church to support their efforts within the Mathews Local School District. Food donations can be dropped off at the Fowler General Store in Fowler or Cortland Bank Vienna Branch in Vienna. Volunteers also help pack the backpacks once a week for students in grades K-6. To learn more, visit Mustangs Care on Facebook at MustangsCareMathews.