Pathways to Success students will have a pantry full of snacks to choose from in their high schools, thanks to an Aug. 25 donation drive.
Meeting Pathways to Success Founder/Executive Director Fay Blake last year inspired State Farm Insurance agent Jeanine O’Donnell to help the mentoring and academic program, so she launched an initial snack donation drive before the 2019-20 school year.
“For some kids, the food they get at school is all they have to eat,” O'Donnell said.
This year, due to COVID-19 guidelines, O’Donnell moved the event from her office to a drive-thru event at Sussex County Habitat for Humanity ReStore near Lewes. Donors dropped off bags of snacks and personal hygiene items to stock pantries at Cape, Seaford, Milford and Sussex Tech high schools that participate in the Pathways to Success program.
Having the event at Habitat ReStore was a great way to raise awareness of both Pathways and Habitat for Humanity, O’Donnell said.
Pathways to Success focuses on student stability, academic achievement and behavior modification. Participating students to date have attained a 98 percent high school graduation rate, board member Maribeth Dockety said, and 96 percent of those students go on to college, with remaining students entering the military or workforce.
Kevin Gilmore, executive director of Sussex County Habitat for Humanity, said proceeds from Habitat ReStore fund two homes a year.
“Shoppers and donors make it work,” he said.
The nonprofit organization offers affordable homeownership opportunities to families unable to obtain conventional house financing. Families pay $2,500 in closing costs, and each adult in the household works hundreds of hours during construction of their own and others’ homes.
Habitat ReStore Manager Cathy Basenese said she was thrilled to help Pathways; she said donors who were unable to attend the event can still drop off items at the store on Route 9 west of Lewes for distribution to students.
Grandpa Mac and Rita’s Ice food trucks offered lunch at the event, and student band Hope for Success entertained donors and volunteers.