A Second Harvest Food Bank pilot program is helping a small school in Cocke County.
Their mission is to feed young minds and fuel academic success.

The food pantry program started last year serving 39 families. Last month they fed 103 families totaling 252 people.

Grassy Fork Elementary Principal Dr. Judy Webb is proud of her students.

The small Cocke County school ranks among the best in the state, and students get plenty of support in and out of the classroom.

"I know the economy is down right now, and it won't be forever and this will help us until it gets another bounce,” Webb said.

The elementary school has a room for a food pantry put on by Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee. Students are sent home with food to support not just them, but their families.

"It doesn't just feed people it alleviates the anxiety of not knowing if you'll have food when you get home,” explained Second Harvest Food Bank Executive Director Elaine Streno.

Second Harvest hopes to expand the program across the 18 counties they serve.

"To alleviate this worry is a blessing for everyone involved in these programs,” said Streno.

Grassy Fork supplements the food with home grown greens and what's in season. Principal Webb has seen what hunger can do to kids.

"You can tell the difference in a kid that comes in with something on his mind and can't focus. We've had kids save up food to try and take home,” Webb explained.

She knows this food pantry is making a difference, and improving the lives of students and parents in Cocke County.

"They come in and they don't have food worries. Kids shouldn't have food worries,” Webb said.

This food pantry is in addition to the backpack program. Second Harvest provides students with backpacks of food to make sure they have meals when they go home for the weekend.