Bright Spot: East Junior High’s Love Pantry

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Body wash, toothpaste and shampoo are probably not the first things on your back to school shopping list, but providing these everyday essentials is a struggle for many families.

"I figured if I could take care of this little part that was one less thing my students had to worry about."

Assistant Principal Kissy Turner said when school started some students were being bullied because of what they didn't have.

"Some of my students were coming in with issues of other students taunting and teasing because their hygiene wasn't up to par or their clothes looked a certain way."

That's when she started The Love Pantry. Initially she wanted feminine hygiene products but so much more has come in.

"Hair products. We started getting school supplies, non-perishable food items and now I have a clothes closet."

Turner said donations come in everyday.

"From the Marion District courthouse, to my apartment complex in Memphis, people from Chicago, alumni from East Junior High. Everybody has been participating in my Love Pantry."

There are 300 students at East Junior High. Turner said her goal is to make sure the students are thriving and reaching their academic goals.

"I just want my students to succeed. I don't want these types of things to be a barrier for them. I don't want you missing school because your clothes weren't clean. I don't want you missing school because you didn't have what you needed that morning."

That's why keeping the shelves of the love pantry stocked is important. These simple items could be just what a student needs to reach their greatest potential.