An eighth grader from Louisiana is making sure his classmates have everything they need this school year. Thirteen-year-old Chase Neyland-Square has created a closet in his middle school filled with clothes and school supplies for students to take.
Neyland-Square, a student at Port Allen Middle School in Louisiana, runs “PAM’s Pantry” out of a closet behind a stage in the school’s gym. It’s filled to the brim with donated clothes, which can be worn by any student in need.
“I know that everybody doesn’t have things and I’m fortunate to have things that other people don’t have, and I look at it as sometimes, how would I feel in that situation?” Neyland-Square told CBS Baton Rouge affiliate WAFB.
Families in the community can come take clothes from the closet at any time, no questions asked.
“They had a family, a Port Allen family who suffered from a fire, so they came in and got a whole new closet full of clothes,” he said.
But it’s not just clothes. The closet is also filled with a variety of school supplies, hygiene products, shoes and more.
Brainstorming ways to help with community
The idea was born through the school’s SPARK (Student Program for Arts, Recreation, and Knowledge program), where students brainstorm ideas for projects over the summer and then work to implement them. Principal Jessica Major started the program in 2016 with the goal of creating young leaders.
“We ask them what they want to do to make the school better and through that, we have changed drastically some of the things that we do here at Port Allen Middle School,” Major said.
Other ideas sparked through the program include lunch with Principal Major, extended recess, brightening up the hallways, and a better selection of library books.
But Neyland-Square has big dreams for PAM’s Pantry that extend beyond the halls of his middle school.
“I’m going to come back and continue working on PAM’s Pantry,” Neyland-Square said. “I’m hoping one day I can turn it into a non-profit organization.”
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