Nashua’s Title I schools receive hundreds of snack donations

Staff Photo by Hannah LaClaire Preschool students had a short chant and "dance" prepared to thank the hospital representatives for being "superheroes."

NASHUA – To students at Title I

Preschool Thursday morning, the visiting representatives from St. Joseph Hospital were “superheroes.”

St. Joseph, partnering with Nabisco, donated several carloads worth of cookies, chips, cereals, crackers and other nonperishable snacks to Nashua’s Title I schools.

There are five Title I schools in Nashua (Fairgrounds, Mount Pleasant, Ledge Street, Dr. Crisp and Amherst Street Elementary Schools), meaning the majority of students come from low-income families, each school qualifies for additional government funding to make sure they are meeting performance expectations.

“There’s a lot of need in Nashua,” Cynthia Proulx, Title I director said. “A lot of our students are unable to bring in a snack. … We want to support our students so that they don’t have to think about being hungry and can learn instead.”

In the past, some teachers have helped to provide snacks for their students by paying for the food themselves.

However, thanks to the donations from St. Joseph’s over the last three years, this is becoming less of a problem.

“This is the most popular drive that we do,” Tara Collins, mission coordinator for the hospital said.

This year, one of the employees had a relative who worked for the Haverhill, Massachusetts, branch of Mondelez International, a snack company that owns Nabisco.

Within just a few phone calls, Nabisco had agreed to donate a large number of snacks to the district.

“Who better to help in the community than the youngest and most vulnerable?” Collins asked.

Guidance counselors from each of the schools were present.

There were boxes of snacks already filled and labeled for

their destinations, but with such a surplus, Proulx directed them to take additional boxes and “help yourself to whatever your school will need.”

Grace Tavares from Dr. Crisp said she was thankful for the donations and that everything they took

would “go directly back into the classrooms.”

For a child who is hungry, it can be hard to focus on school work.

This is just one of several efforts the community has taken to help provide meals for students in Nashua, such as the “End 68 Hours of Hunger” initiative, which aims to send students home with meals they can make over the weekend when they won’t have food

provided at school.

“The whole community has been wonderful and so supportive,” Proulx said.

The preschool students sat quietly on the floor during the short presentation before the food was handed out, and then they thanked the hospital for their donations.

They sang, “Five, four, three, two, one, zero, St. Joe’s and Nabisco are superheroes.”

Hannah LaClaire can be reached at 594-1243 or