By Krista Cascio
Cape Cod Community College’s (4Cs) food pantry has raised their numbers by 27% in the last year, providing free food and groceries to any 4Cs student in need.
In 2013 members of the Legacy Club decided that they wanted to leave an invaluable impact on their school that would be present long after they graduated. Club members banded together in partnership with The Family Food Pantry based in Harwich MA to help open up an on-campus pantry that would provide easy access to groceries for struggling students.
“At one of their meetings, while discussing strategy about something that they could start and support, it was noted about the food insecurity of students on campus,” said Student Life Coordinator, David Biggs. “It was from this discussion that the food pantry idea was researched and finally came to fruition with the partnership agreement with the Family Food Pantry.”
During an interview, Kelly Brox who is the head of operations at the 4Cs pantry, was more than grateful to share information about the on-campus pantry in an effort to reach out to potential students in need.
Brox stated that “30-34% of students are food insecure” at places like 4Cs and with no food insecurity programs serving the Hyannis area, being able to visit a pantry right on campus might be the highlight to their week.
“If you use the library or the computer labs- use the pantry. It is one of the perks of going to community college,” said Brox who believes that the food pantry is not being utilized as much as it’s needed.
She was proud to share, however, that their numbers are growing. Slowly but surely students and faculty are becoming less subdued by the stigma and are utilizing the resources available to them and their families.
The pantry is “small market-like, and well stocked”. It is also run by volunteers from the community who work Monday through Wednesday, giving the pantry-goers confidentiality to come as needed.
If you are a student seeking to help the pantry, there are opportunities in place to assist in running a food drive, or to help with stocking shelves.
Due to their partnership agreement, The Family Food Pantry in Harwich “can order as much food as the college needs”. This allows the volunteers at the 4Cs pantry to send people home with a “generously filled bag” of groceries each week. This grocery bag is estimated to save pantry-goers $180 worth of groceries per month.
Aside from making sure the pantry is well stocked, this judgement free zone understands how hard it is to be a college student today while also striving to put something good on your plate. This is why 4Cs is willing to go above and beyond for students who can’t make it to the pantry during their usual times.
Brox stated, “If you can’t get to the office during our open hours, we will find a way to get it to you”
The 4Cs Food Pantry is open to all. Discreetly located in the lower level of the Life Fitness Center, Rm PE G13, their hours are Monday 9:30 AM – 12:30 PM, Tuesday 10:00 AM- 2:30 PM, Wednesday 9:00 AM- 12:00 PM. It’s noted that they remain closed during inclement weather, holidays, January break as well as the summer months.
“So many students are facing food insecurity,” said Tracy Morin, Director of Student Engagement. “And anything we can do to reframe the conversation to be a positive, ‘we’re in this together’ type of message is important.”