Seminole School District closes Casselberry Elementary food pantry

By Jeff Allen, Seminole County Reporter
Last Updated: Wednesday, August 09, 2017, 9:43 PM EDT

Just a day before the start of school in Seminole County, a school food pantry is closing. Volunteers at Casselberry Kidz Care Cabin say Seminole County Public Schools administrators ordered them earlier this week to close the pantry by the first day of school.

  • Casselberry Kidz Care Cabin food pantry closing
  • School district told group to close before school began
  • District promises a new food pantry

The school district letters home to parents at Casselberry Elementary and South Seminole Middle School that the pantries would be restructured. Instead, the schools would have pantries that would distribute with a weekly schedule.

While the district thanked Casselberry Kidz Inc. for its work with the Care Cabin, it's cold comfort for the woman who helped open it.

After stocking up their food pantry for the start of school, Kerryn McCollum spent Wednesday packing up and cleaning out the food pantry.

“We were given three days to get off the school campus by the start of school,” said McCollum.

McCollum says she helped open the Care Cabin five years ago to help students who’s families were having trouble keeping food on the table.

“I had a mom call me at 9:30 last night wondering what they’re going to do next week for food,” said McCollum.

The food pantry was in the very back of Casselberry Elementary, and parents say they liked that because it allowed them to get help discreetly, without everybody knowing about it.”

“People looking at you like, ‘oh you can’t afford to feed your kids,’" said Ramona Beetlestone, a parent who went to the pantry. “You didn’t get that here.”

School district officials did not say why they're closing down the Care Cabin.

McCollum says she believes the school district is trying to establish a uniform system of smaller food pantries at each school, sending backpacks of food home with children.

“It’s great they get a box of macaroni and cheese, but they can’t make macaroni and cheese unless they have milk and butter.  We’d make sure they’d have milk and butter,” said McCollum.

McCollum and other volunteers are hoping they can find another place where they can help families in need.

“We’re going to move on and try for bigger and better,” said McCollum.