Cooke's New Food Pantry Provides Nourishment and Opportunity

Explore the heartwarming collaboration between Cooke School and The Kids' Table, as they unveil a transformative food pantry initiative. Witness how this partnership not only provides essential nourishment to the community but also offers invaluable job opportunities for students, fostering growth and empowerment in a spirit of togetherness.
Show Transcript
In the heart of Northville Public Schools, Cooke School stands as a beacon of hope and opportunity. Known for its special education center program, Cooke is now taking on a new role in the community. It's not just about providing meals, but about fostering community and creating opportunities for growth.

"Beth Santer [Executive Director of Special Services, NPS] had the idea and she came to us at Cooke saying that she would love to launch a food pantry and we were all really excited about it. So when they asked me if I would be the point person, I said absolutely and now here we are," explained Sydnee Klocko, special education teacher, Cooke School.

The Kids' Table, a local non-profit, partnered with Cooke School to make this vision a reality.

"The Kids' Table is less than a year old. It started in April of '23 and it is a nonprofit with the mission of giving kids the resources they need to thrive. Whatever that ends up being. In this case, it's food," said Martha Michalak, president, The Kids' Table.

The heart of this initiative lies in the students, diligently working in the food pantry, gaining invaluable skills and experience.

Sydnee Klocko explained, "We have all of our post-secondary students who are signed up for different time slots to come work in our food pantry and they're working on skills such as stocking shelves, loading boxes using templates, actually assembling cardboard boxes."

Martha Michalak, president of The Kids' Table, emphasizes the dual purpose of the food pantry. "Our vision was feeding children. Beth's vision was 2 pronged in that we could feed children and we could also help students learn, and that's what's happening here. These students who are working here are getting a learning experience and a work experience. They take the boxes, they deliver the boxes to people's cars. So they're getting real-world experience and we're feeding kids. So it's a win-win," said Michalak.

"It was very profound to see our students giving back to the community. You can tell on our students faces that they're excited about this opportunity as well, that they're engaged with it and seeing the families reaction too to our students and just everything about it has been so great. And we're really excited about this opportunity," said Klocko.

"I know right now we have 20 families in the program, so we are feeding 20 families once a month. But I know Sidney is interested in, you know, finding more families. And it's just a case of word of mouth and letting everybody know that this exists and it's open to all Northville public School families," said Michalak.

Cooke's food pantry, a testament to the power of community and compassion. Together, we're not just providing meals, we're nurturing growth, one box at a time.
If you are a Northville family that could benefit from a monthly box of four meals, please reach out to your child's principal. For questions, call the Cooke School office at 248-344-3550. The remaining pick-up dates are: March 21, April 25, May 23. Pick up times: 10-11am and 1-2pm at Cooke School.
If you would love to continuously see this program thrive, consider giving a monetary donation to The Kids' Table by visiting The Kids' Table's website.
The Kids' Table Food Pantry - Partnering with Cooke School: 21200 Taft Road, Northville 48167. This service helps NPS families in need and provides work skills to our post high school students. If you are interested in receiving a monthly box, please contact one of the following: your building principal, social worker, counselor. For other questions, contact: 248-344-3550.