Food insecurity, the lack of reliable access to sufficient amounts of affordable, nutritious food, is common at colleges and universities nationwide and potentially undermines students’ educational success, according to a National Student Campaign against Hunger and Homelessness report.
Thomas Nelson Community College is opening a food pantry on the Hampton campus in partnership with the Peninsula Food Bank to address this growing concern. Called the Care Team Cupboard, the pantry will provide non-perishable food for students and College personnel who are in need.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the space located in Griffin Hall’s room 221Q will take place 11 a.m. on Sept. 18. The event is open to students, faculty and staff. Thomas Nelson President John Dever along with Peninsula Food Bank’s Agency Services Director Katie Patrick and its Chief Executive Officer Karen Joyner will be on hand for the event.
The Care Team Cupboard will operate noon – 2 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Thursday with additional 5 – 7 p.m. service on Thursday. Service hours may be altered depending upon supply and demand, noted Student Services Dean Betsy Harrison. Anyone interested in volunteering at the Care Team Cupboard may visit Griffin Hall’s room 201 to sign up.
Like the Peninsula Food Bank, said Harrison, the campus food pantry will not turn away anyone from the College who seeks service. Patrons will not have to provide documentation of need and can simply sign in with their name, ages of those whom the food is for and whether or not the person is a veteran.
Disability Support Services Coordinator Richard Hurst said a $5,000 Faculty-Staff Innovator Grant from Thomas Nelson’s Educational Foundation provided start-up costs, and the pantry will rely on monetary donations to the Foundation to sustain. “If generous donations are provided through the Thomas Nelson Foundation, the Care Team Cupboard will be able to purchase food at 19 cents a pound through the food bank. Thomas Nelson will be the first college partnering with the food bank to create a food pantry,” he said.
Thomas Nelson can potentially distribute more than 26,000 pounds of food over the next year through the unique partnership. The Care Team Cupboard accepts food solely from the Peninsula Food Bank, he added.
To support the Care Team Cupboard with a financial donation to the Educational Foundation, visit www.tncc.edu/foundation.
Additionally, proceeds from AmazonSmile will also support the cupboard. Simply shop at smile.amazon.com and select Thomas Nelson Educational Foundation as your charitable organization. Click here to start using AmazonSmile.
The College established its Care Team comprised of administrators, faculty and staff in fall 2016 to foster a “caring culture” and address several needs. The group identified the need for food as a top concern. “This is just one small need of many that our students face. We hope to enhance these efforts by opening a food pantry at the Historic Triangle campus in the near future and, perhaps, expand our efforts into other areas as well,” said Hurst.
The Care Team meets once a month. Its next meeting is set for 1 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 4 in Hampton campus’ Diggs Hall room 158 and room 110 t the Historic Triangle campus. Everyone is invited to attend.
During its first year, the Care Team created a Thomas Nelson Resource Guide. Accessible here, the guide identifies services throughout the Peninsula that can help meet students’ needs.