On-campus food pantry makes meals accessible

By Joshua Drake
Contributing Writer

 

Some hungry Brookhaven College students, staff and faculty may not know they never need worry about going to bed on an empty stomach.

The food pantry, in Room T319, was started by Sheri Van Court, Brookhaven English for Speakers of Other Languages professor, in 2010. Vikki Ethington, a campus police officer, took over the food pantry in 2011.

“There [was] not enough food to feed anybody,” Ethington said. She worked to expand the food pantry. She created the Spooky Trot 5K Run/Walk to help raise awareness, donations and funds for the pantry.

Cesar Santamaria, a student and food pantry volunteer, said anyone on campus who needs help with food can just go to the pantry, also known as The Cave, and get what they need.

A former Brookhaven student who preferred not to be identified said the pantry helped him a lot when he was a student. He said the food pantry was his go-to place for food when he did not have a lot of money. He said he ate a lot of canned and dried foods and fruit juices.

In a campuswide email, Jennifer Allen, a history professor and food pantry volunteer coordinator, said the pantry is open during most of the week. The times depend on availability of volunteers, but she would like to have it open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day.

Allen said Brookhaveans may still get help if the pantry is closed. Campus police have access to the room.

The Spooky Trot will be held at 8 p.m. Oct. 28, along the campus jogging trail. The starting line will be near the P4 parking lot, according to the Brookhaven website.

Ethington said this will be her last year running the event. Next year, the Office of Student Life will be running the Spooky Trot.

To participate in the Spooky Trot, anyone interested can donate 10 non-perishable food items, Ethington said. Runners are encouraged to dress up and can enter the costume contest. Prizes are also available for the top runners in different categories, Ethington said.

In a campuswide email, Allen said the pantry is always in need of donations. Items in high demand include pastas, jarred sauces, microwavable noodles, baby foods and proteins such as tuna fish and canned ham. Canned items include fruit and other vegetarian foods.

Allen also said the pantry is in need of toiletries such as soap, shampoo, conditioner, feminine hygiene products, baby wipes, diapers, toothbrushes and toothpastes.

Anyone interested in donating to the pantry can drop off items in Room T319 or Allen’s office, Room K208, Allen said in the email. Donors can also contact Allen to arrange a pick-up of donations anywhere on campus.

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