Grayling High School Students Stock Award-Winning Pantry

A group of students at Grayling High School transformed an old storage room into a pantry, helping other kids in need, and they are attracting a lot of attention.

“It’s kind of behind-the-scenes when we are here, filling these because nobody ever knows about it except the kids that use it,” says Madi Longendyke, a junior at Grayling High School.

Beyond the doors of the Viking Pantry, students like Madi and sophomore Olivia Van De Ven are used to working behind-the-scenes.

It started a year ago and grew.

“Last week, we had 20-something bags to fill and then, this week, it’s only Wednesday and we’ve already had 13,” Madi says.

“The things that we take for granted, these people don’t have on a normal basis, and the fact that we can help to give them those kind of things is awesome,” Olivia says.

This year, the team of about 30 students received some recognition.

It came in the form of a $2,500 grant and an Excellence in Education award from the SET SEG Foundation.

“It’s for any student at Grayling High School who has a need at any given moment,” says Teresa Bonamie, counseling secretary who also oversees the pantry. “There’s no questions asked. We filled 335 bags for students.”

The Student Senate has taken in donations and money from fundraisers and collection containers in various locations.

The stack inside the pantry almost hits the ceiling, things from pastas all the way to laundry detergent. You name it, the students have it in there.

“Cash donations, food donations, hygiene products,” Bonamie says. “We had a refrigerator donated. We had a freezer donated.”

As long as donations keep filling their containers at the school, the Student Senate won’t stop.

“It’s really, really important to me because to see that so many people need this kind of thing is breathtaking, actually, because we get to be a part of something that’s so important,” Olivia says.