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7Everyday Hero dedicated to continuing to serve food-insecure high school students during pandemic

Posted at 8:06 AM, Apr 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-27 10:11:56-04

DENVER — When the novel coronavirus forced South High School to close, the school's food pantry also closed. This could have been devastating for food insecure students and their families without a 7Everyday Hero.

Today's heroes wear all kinds of uniforms, and Jacyln Yelich is no exception.

Five years ago, she started South High School's food pantry program. It's a place where students can go grocery shopping for their families for the week, all for free.

"This is no regular food bank, this is a food bank on steroids," said fellow volunteer Ceci Favetto.

Then the coronavirus hit, forcing the school and food pantry to close.

"She doesn’t believe in the option of just shutting it down and saying, 'Well, we’ll see you in the fall when this is all done,'" Favetto said.

Instead, Yelich got to work, moving to a new school and securing emergency grant money to buy produce and fresh food.

"It wasn’t an option for us not to operate," she said. "We love these kids, we know them so well — some of these families we’ve known for four years."

Today, the pantry serves more than 60 families each week. Food boxes are pre-packed and ready for pickup or delivery to minimize human contact.

"The food is even more important now," Yelich said. "They’re so grateful that we’re still there for them."

There is no denying Colorado families are struggling, but thanks to Yelich's dedication, South High School students and their families have one less worry on their plates.

"I want people to understand how this one perso — with her determination and her love and her caring for families who don’t have food on their table — has made such a huge difference in their lives," Favetto said.

Molly Hendrickson anchors Denver7 in the mornings from 4:30-7 a.m. She also features a different 7Everyday Hero each week on Denver7. Follow Molly on Facebook here and Twitter here. To nominate a hero in your life, click here.