Her Friday volunteers make sure children don’t go hungry over the weekend
Three years ago, this year’s Sandi Van Scoyoc Award honoree Dianne Macon was approached and asked to start a weekend food program for children in Goffstown, New Boston and Dunbarton. Starting from scratch, the newly-retired teacher quickly recruited a team of volunteers and created a unique and innovative program in partnership with area schools.
Operated under the umbrella of the Goffstown Network Food Pantry, Macon’s weekend school food program has anywhere from 60-100 students enrolled at any given time. Her team of Friday volunteers packs shopping bags with enough nutritious easy-to-prepare food, including vegetables, fruit and milk to provide breakfast, lunch, dinner, drinks and snacks to sustain the children from Friday evening to Monday morning.
The award is given annually by the New Hampshire Children’s Health Foundation to honor its founding president’s commitment to improving the health of New Hampshire’s children.
In her volunteer role, Macon organizes all aspects of the program, including shopping, organizing groceries by type, coordinating volunteer schedules and soliciting donations from several local and nonprofit organizations including the Goffstown Rotary, Citizens Bank, Goffstown Public Library, Chiggy’s Place, Stonebridge Country Club, Goffstown Public Schools and Hannaford.
Creativity and innovation are her hallmarks. She actively monitors what is working well and what could be improved at each school and adjusts the programs as necessary.
For example, last year she noticed that participation at the high school was low, so she implemented a “pantry” of sorts where she stocks granola bars, cereal and other easy “take-away” foods for high school students to grab when they’re hungry. She also implemented a similar program this year at the middle school, both of which are working extremely well.
According to Joan Alayne Stevens, a board member of Goffstown Network Food Pantry, who nominated Macon for the award, “Dianne is recognized as a community leader who focuses on the wellbeing of children. She shops wisely, leads her team of volunteers and interacts with the schools and community organizations respectfully as she delivers this service so children won’t go hungry on weekends.”
“Dianne is recognized in our community as the go to person to make sure that no child goes hungry,” added Stevens. “The well-being of children is of utmost importance to her. She understands, from her experience as a teacher, that children who come to school hungry are not well equipped to learn and thrive in our community.”
The New Hampshire Children’s Health Foundation is one of the leading private funders for children’s health in the state. The Foundation is pleased to honor Dianne Macon with its 2020 Sandi Van Scoyoc Award and recognized her at its annual event on October 7.