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Mandalay has opened its new Helping Hands food pantry, located in the elementary school. The pantry will assist needy families in the school community, but the broader goal is to service the entire district community, elementary guidance counselor Donna Shulman and third grade teacher Stacey Vespe said. 

On Oct. 3, Wantagh Middle School student-volunteers, who had previously graduated from Mandalay, conducted the food pantry’s first food sorting and packing. The students placed donated items on the newly built shelves and discussed which items were needed in the future. The middle school students also receive credit for community service hours.

Ms. Shulman explained that she has seen an increased need for food donations. She and Ms. Vespe first contacted families already on the free and reduced lunch program to see if they could use the pantry’s services. Interested families are then provided a list of items being stored in the pantry, and volunteers will pack boxes based on the checked off items. The request is confidential, and donation boxes can be picked up during off hours to provide anonymity. 

Anyone needing assistance can reach out to Ms. Shulman and Ms. Vespe at and