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Natomas High School Teacher Working To Feed Hungry Families

NATOMAS (CBS13) — As schools remain closed during this pandemic, a Natomas High School teacher is opening up his classroom offering lessons of giving.

Joel Schwieger is a special education teacher at Natomas High School. He's been running Joey's Food Locker for a few years and is usually open the last couple Fridays of the month.

"We have increased from 170 to right now almost 400 people every single Friday," Schwieger said.

Since the pandemic hit, it's a weekly free food giveaway on school grounds.

"It's amazing what they do here. There's no words for it," Natomas resident Roberto Toledo said.

Anyone who drives up gets two or three bags of groceries in their vehicle.

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"I get some for a friend of my mom. She lives alone, she's an older lady, she can't go out, I pick her up and she is very grateful,"  Toledo said.

The school, like all in the state, is closed right now, and all instruction is being done online. But Schwieger got special permission after agreeing to follow social distancing guidelines to ensure his helping hand doesn't stop.

"It's so great for this community, it's just fantastic, it's a joy to be out here and it's from a culture he cultivated," Natomas High Assistant Principal Brian Sanino said.

Schwieger said the pantry is named after his son Joey, who passed away 10 years ago. He says this is one of the best ways to keep his son's giving spirit alive.

"He was a person who always gave to others if he had a meal, he would hand it out to everybody before him," he said.

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