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OR Counselor Helps Ensure Students Don't Go Hungry


Thursday, November 17, 2022   

An Oregon school counselor is helping families get the food they need, so students can be ready to learn.

Laura Minato, a counselor at Beavercreek Elementary School outside Oregon City, has been screening student families for food insecurity, and said the idea came from a presentation by the American Heart Association.

Minato started including questions about food insecurity in the family-needs survey she sends out to families.

"It's more respectful and dignified if the family gets to self-identify," Minato asserted. "Having an opportunity to do that is important, and I'd never thought of it before I heard the talk from the AHA. I mean, that just kind of clicked with me, like, oh, here's a way I could find that out."

Minato pointed out the questions resonated with her dive into whether families feel like they have enough food to last until their next paycheck. Minato also asked families if they would like to receive information about free food resources in the community.

She noted Beavercreek is a small hamlet, and the elementary school plays an important role.

"The school, which has been here for a long time, is definitely a hub of the community," Minato explained. "We are looked at as kind of a center, at least for the people who have school-age kids."

Minato added families who are struggling with food insecurity are given certificates which can be traded in for tokens to be used at the farmers market in Oregon City. She's curious if there are more barriers to food, such as the distance to the market and whether families feel comfortable going.

"The next step that I would like to put some more effort into is actually helping them get used," Minato stressed. "I feel like there's more work to be done on that end."

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