Pierpont and LIFE UMC start food pantry partnership

Pierpont and LIFE UMC start food pantry partnership

WHITE HALL – College students have a lot of bills to keep up with while still going to school, and some may not find time to sit down for lunch, let alone be able to it.
 
The new neighbors of Pierpont Community and Technical College’s Advanced Technology Center have taken note of this, and within a few months of their introduction, have decided to help provide students with food options. The LIFE United Methodist Church took a stab at feeding students Thursday, hosting a free cookout at the ATC.
 
“We got together for a meeting and I wanted to know how we could be a good neighbor,” Larry Buckland, pastor at LIFE UMC, said. “This is an event, which is great, but what about other times of the day when people are hungry, so we want to fill their pantry.”
 
The food pantry is a new initiative at PCTC, and will provide students with food supply throughout the day for anyone in need of sustenance.
 
Buckland said the church already helps provide food to other organizations and schools, and spearheading an initiative with PCTC came from a conversation with a school staff member.
 
“We have students that are in need of the basics,” Jillian Sole, information specialist for student services at PCTC, said. “We set up a snack pantry to help them get through the day, and reached out to Larry to see if he could help with that.”
 
Sole said the pantry will be stocked by the church and any other donations they receive, although they are still unsure of exactly what foods will be collected and distributed. As of now, they have simple snacks like granola bars and microwavable foods like soups and macaroni and cheese.
 
“It’ll be held here at the ATC once it’s set up,” Sole said. “It’s going to be ‘You need it? Come. No questions, we’ll help you out.’”
 
According to Sole, some students may struggle with food at PCTC as many of them are non-traditional students who already have families, homes and part-time jobs. The need for food is a constant cost which she wanted to help out with.
 
“They get grants and scholarships but that covers just tuition and boarding,” Sole said. “It doesn’t cover the daily essentials of just having food, so we’re hoping we’re able to help them out.”
 
LIFE UMC and the pantry will be collecting food donations from here on out, with donors able to contact Sole at 304-534-7889 or LIFE UMC at 304-363-2104. The two hope to also continue an annual cookout or another food-related gathering for students in the coming months, as the amount who came out for just hot dogs were enough to motivate another event.
 
“Tonight’s kind of a trial,” Buckland said. “We’ll get the word out more and we plan on hoping to try it at least once a month.”
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