By Mayukh Saha / Truth Theory
The thing about being privileged is that you can always share your stuff and make an ‘under-privileged’ feel better. If you have extra clothes and you give it to a person with no clothes, that simple act of sharing will make the person smile and feel, if not privileged, ‘fine’ – almost equal.
If all these sound a little bit confusing to you, then you should take a lesson from Chase Neyland-Square – a 13-year-old who has built a closet and filled it up with school supplies and clothes. It is built for students to come and take what they are lacking. The Louisiana eighth-grader is ensuring that his classmates can get whatever they need during the school year.
Chase Neyland-Square is a student at Port Allen Middle School and he opened the closet behind the school’s gym. He called it PAM’s Pantry. It is full of donated clothes which any student can wear.
When asked about privilege, the 13-year-old mentioned that he knows some people are not very fortunate. He has often been empathetic and whenever he imagined himself in the shoes of the suffering person, he felt terrible. It is during these times that he wanted to help them out, anyway he could.
That’s why he extended the services of PAM’s Pantry to the community too. Even families can come and help themselves to PAM’s Pantry. A Port Allen family suffering from a bout of fire came to PAM’s Pantry and got themselves a set of new clothes. They were eternally grateful.
However, PAM’s Pantry does not hold clothes only. It also has hygiene products and school supplies. It has shoes and many more items.
It has to be noted that the school encouraged such activity through the Student Program for Arts, Recreation and Knowledge (SPARK). Using this program, the students were told to brainstorm different ideas during the summer which can be used to help the school.
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Jessica Major, the school principal, began this program in the year 2016 to promote leadership skills among the students. She got some interesting ideas and she implemented them in Port Allen Middle School to make the students’ experience in school better. There were common ideas like extended recess and funny ones like lunch with the Principal. However, some were genuine ideas like better books in the library and also PAM’s Pantry.
For now, PAM’s Pantry is a dream that is flourishing and Neyland-Square just loves working in PAM’s Pantry. He also loves the idea that it is extending beyond the walls of the school. Nowadays, even the community is taking help from this wonderful initiative.
For Neyland-Square, this was all he wanted. Now his only dream is to make it bigger and when he becomes an adult, he wishes to come back and transform it into a proper non-profit organization.