How to Start a Snack Pantry in Your Child's School

This post has been sponsored by Cheerios. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

When my twins started kindergarten this year, I noticed something unexpected on their supply list - a request for donations to the classroom snack pantry. I wasn't quite sure what that was, so I asked their teachers. The information they shared is so genius that it's now one of my favorite ways to give to our school—and one I think every school should implement. Want to start a snack pantry at your child's school?

Here's how to do it and make it easy with Cheerios and Dollar General.

How to Start a Snack Pantry in Your Child's School

Our school's snack pantries started as an easy solution to a problem a lot of schools face: crazy lunch schedules thanks to an ever-growing student population. To fit in lunch for all the grades, lunch times stretch from 11am to after 1pm. The teachers were finding that kids with the earliest and latest lunch times were having a hard time concentrating because they were hungry. Allowing kids to bring in a quick snack to fill the gap helped to alleviate this.

But here's the thing. An estimated 30 million children in the United States participate in free or reduced lunch programs. These programs don't cover snacks, yet these kids deserve a snack break just like their classmates.

The solution? A classroom snack pantry.

The idea is simple: have donated snacks on hand in the classroom for anyone who needs them. This can be for any reason at all: because a child can't afford a snack, they simply forgot to bring one (or mom forgot to pack it), or they just prefer what's in the pantry that day. 

A successful classroom snack pantry should be open to everyone so as not to stigmatize those who use it.

Our classroom snack pantries rely on parent donations to operate, and our family is happy to help stock the snack pantry on a regular basis. Fortunately, since I can shop for Cheerios at Dollar General, filling the snack pantry is easy and inexpensive. 

Find your local Dollar General here and save with a $1 coupon! Cheerios will also donate $1 to the Dollar General Literacy Foundation for every purchase as part of their Good Goes Around program.

Our classroom snack pantries were ready to be refilled after winter break, so I headed to Dollar General to make something I know all the kids will love: Cheerios snack mix. It's the perfect snack for the classroom because it's easy to grab and eat (the kids have their snack while they are reading or working) and there's something for everyone.

I grabbed all three varieties: Honey Nut Cheerios (my favorite), classic Cheerios (one son's favorite), and Peanut Butter Chocolate Cheerios (my other son's favorite). I also picked up the rest of my snack mix ingredients and saved on some Dollar General brand snack bags to pack them in.

Making your snack mix is easy. Simply mix your favorite flavor of Cheerios with a combination of sweet and salty snacks. Pick your favorites from things like:
  • Raisins & Dried Fruit
  • Pretzels
  • Snack Crackers
  • Chocolate Chips
  • Popcorn
  • Pumpkin or Sesame Seeds
Just make sure that you are aware of any classroom allergies and provide the teacher with a list of all ingredients if needed.

Mix your ingredients in a large bowl, then scoop servings into zippered snack bags. It's that easy!

Once your bags are filled, you can reuse your Dollar General shopping bag to transport them to school. The kids will love it and you'll know that no one in your child's classroom will go hungry at snack time.

Creating a snack pantry at your child's school is a simple way to share kindness in your community. If a class-time snack is not an option, you can still stock a snack pantry that allows children in need to take snacks home or for the weekend. 

And remember that when you buy Cheerios at Dollar General, you not only save on the snacks your kids will love but you also give $1 to the Dollar General Literacy Foundation.

Find your local Dollar General here and start your own snack pantry program today!

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Does your school have a snack pantry? It's a great way to help kids in need and spread kindness too! Learn how and why you need to start a snack pantry at your school and how to make it simple with Cheerios & Dollar General! #ad #DollarGeneral #backtoschool #kindness #snacks

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