PRCC to open student food pantry

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Pearl River Community College will soon be opening a food pantry to assist full and part-time students who are affected by food insecurity.

PRCC Social Media Coordinator Carol Williams said President Adam Breerwood sent out an email in April with information about campus food pantries and Williams decided to look into the possibility of introducing one on the PRCC campus. She said research shows that more than 30 percent of college students across the nation suffer from food insecurity. The statistic prompted her to speak with several people at the college and got the ball rolling.

Now, just a few months after its inception, the food pantry is officially accepting donations. Williams said they are currently asking for donations of dry, non-perishable foods. Eventually, they will ask for laundry items as well, since laundry detergent and other items can cost as much as several meals. She said while they currently don’t have much on the shelves, they have already received their first donation of food.

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Williams said they will allow students who have a valid ID to come to the pantry once a week to get up to three-days worth of food. She said rather than giving out individual-size items, they will provide family-size boxes and containers of food. She said PRCC has a high percentage of students who commute, many of which have families, so she wanted to be sure students with food insecurity could provide not only for themselves, but for their families as well.

Williams said once the fall semester begins, the pantry will be open Monday, Tuesday and Wednesdays from noon to 2 p.m. She said she is hoping that an ID scanner, similar to those used in the cafeteria, can be installed so the school can keep track of who comes and goes. Williams said since the pantry will be open during the day, she understands that some students will not be able to come during those times. In response, students who need to use the pantry after hours will have the option of texting a number so a worker can meet them and open the doors.

The food pantry, named “The Market” will be housed in a new building called, “The Station.” Williams said when campus police moved to their new building, the old police office was converted into The Station.

“It’s like it was just waiting for something to go into it. It’s like it was meant to be,” Williams said.

She said the building has been remodeled and will include The Market as well as the Wildcats Career Closet, which provides free clothing to PRCC students. Williams said that last year was the Career Closet’s first year and with it the college was able to help 35 students find professional outfits for career fairs and interviews. Now, the Career Closet is over-stocked, and has expanded to include a men’s section, a women’s section, and an accessory and shoe section.

With The Market and the Career Closet, Williams said she hopes the college will be able to provide help to a large number of students in need of some extra help.

Williams said if anyone wants to make a donation, they can send a text to 601-549-2187, or they can drop off their donations at the Public Relations building on campus.