A team of Sulphur High School students unveiled the end result of their vision to address a community need at an event held at Our Lady’s School Wednesday.
Members of the Sulphur High School Community Impact Program, or SCIP, presented a Little Free Pantry, a small cabinet stocked with free non-perishable food items and personal hygiene products. Signage on the box directs the community to “take what you need, donate what you can.”
SCIP is a pilot program Tellurian, Inc. is sponsoring through their Youth Leadership initiative. The company gave the students $20,000 to identify, develop, and execute a project that will have a positive impact in their community. They undertook the task with minimal adult supervision.
SCIP team members include President David Spicer, Vice President Alexis Bostick, Secretary Olivia Reeves, and Public Relations Manager Gabriel Guillory.
Reeves said the group met with local community, political, and religious leaders to understand where they could be of most service in Sulphur. Other areas considered were environmental degradation and financial literacy. “Food security, which involves efforts to find easy access to basic food and hygiene items, stood out as the most pressing issue,” Reeves said.
According to Bostick, sustainability was a consideration for the project. “It involves not only making sure the pantries are stocked and receiving donations, but also that it is being utilized by those in need,” she said. SCIP has provided the first stock for each pantry and dedicated funds to each partner to cover pantry maintenance and seasonal fluctuations in donations and need.
There are four designated sites for pantries in Sulphur — OLS on Cypress Street, Maplewood Church of Christ on Beverly Place, Our Lady of LaSalette Catholic Church on N. Claiborne Street, and First Baptist Church on S. Huntington. Both OLS and Maplewood have opened their pantries.
“For the parents here, you should be very proud of what your kids have done,” said Jason French, Vice President of Governmental Affairs for Tellurian, Inc. French said when pitching the idea, his speech was, “We’re going to give $20,000 to a group of young adults and then we’re going to get out of the way and see what happens.
“And what you see has happened … is a great thing,” he said. “I told David (Spicer) recently that at some point really soon, because of what they’ve done, there will be a kid who doesn’t go to bed hungry.”
French announced at the event that SCIP is no longer a pilot program. “We’re going to commit to doing this every year going forward as long as the school will have us,” he said.
Tellurian has also committed to expanding the program to at least three schools for the 2019-20 school year. SCIP received additional support from Image360 and Howell Industries.