Madison Boucher helps her mother, Amie, stock The Falcon’s Nest food pantry. Chance Viles/American Journal

WESTBROOK — High school freshman Madison Boucher has been working to streamline the Middle School food pantry, The Falcon’s Nest.

The food pantry was set up last year in a hallway. Now stocked with everything from hummus to shampoo, the pantry’s goal is to address food and toiletry insecurity for students and families.

“Students are often worried about what they have at home for food, and if they are worried or hungry they won’t do as well,” said Boucher, who worked in the pantry last year as a middle schooler. Her work with the pantry this year will count toward her Girl Scout Silver Award.

High school and middle school is the “basis of life,” according to Boucher, so making sure students are successful now can have long term benefits in the future.

As the pantry grew, so did the volunteers’ goals. Concerned about how students were eating over the weekend, they grew the Falcon’s Nest to include take-home bags of food for the weekends, a step up from only offering food during school hours.

“Just because school ends for the week doesn’t mean food insecurity ends,” Boucher said.

She created a system to pack the bags that is discreet, easy to follow and addresses students’ allergies. Volunteers unobtrusively put the bags in the students’ lockers.

She is joined by her mother, Amie Boucher, who runs the pantry.

“It is for all of the students, we help kids with food and snacks, but we even have things like school supplies if the student just doesn’t have theirs for the day,” Amie Boucher said.

The Falcon’s Nest menu is extensive. Aside from food, toiletries and school supplies, the pantry stocks clothes for all seasons, formal wear for students in band or chorus, dresses for dances, socks, underwear, jewelry and more.

Donations typically come from the pantry’s volunteers, students and families, but local organizations and businesses have a hand in the wide variety of offerings as well.

“We partnered last year and will continue with the Locker Project and worked with the Good Shepard food bank to help keep the shelves filled,” Amie Boucher said.

“We take about anything,” she said. “The one thing is we don’t take opened packs of underwear. … Also we get donations with holes and stains. Think about what you would want to wear to school or want your kid to wear, and just try to be conscious of what you donate.”

Even after she gets her Silver Award, Boucher said she will continue to volunteer. She is currently training other students how to pack bags as well, to further streamline the process.

“It’s been awesome to do all of this with Madison,” her mother said. “She has put in so much work and effort.”

The Falcon’s Nest pantry is located on the second floor of the middle school. Chance Viles/American Journal

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