Helping students help themselves is the goal behind a new program at Churchill High School.

For the past 10 years, a number of kids there have been on a free or reduced lunch plan and a school pantry has been set up to help them.

Everything in the Churchill High School pantry is a community effort to help more kids with their next meal.

Social studies teacher Ashley Rice is one of the masterminds behind the project, inspiring her students to keep the pantry doors open three times a week after school.

“I didn’t really think it was an issue, but obviously it is,” said Eddie Villareal, a Churchill junior.

Not only does it impact the kids in the classroom, a lack of nutrition chips away at their longevity. A new San Antonio Metro Health study shows people on the north side live 20 years longer than those on the south side.

A big reason is access to healthy food.

Everything in the pantry has a label, but that’s where the labels stop. Rice doesn’t want students filling out paperwork to wipe out any stigma.

“Very rarely have we seen anyone who doesn’t need the help come in and just take food,” Rice said. “They kind of know this is to help people.”

So far, the pantry has helped 183 kids, giving away more than 1,000 food items, with other schools already asking how they can do the same.