Event supports DACC's food pantry

Traci Gardner, a mentor with the TRIO student success program, left, and math tutor Ken Horlander pack donations of food for the Danville Area Community College's Food Pantry during Giving Tuesday on campus.

DANVILLE – The TRIO Student Success Center at Danville Area Community College was festooned Tuesday with festive holiday décor and large boxes filled with nonperishable food items.

The TRIO Student Support Services program once again organized a campuswide Giving Tuesday event to collect donations of food and personal care items to stock the shelves of DACC’s food pantry.

“This is the fourth year for TRIO to do this and the second time partnering with Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society,” TRIO Director Shanay Wright. “It’s a team effort with Phi Theta Kappa and the DACC Foundation office.”

Wright first heard about Giving Tuesday on her car radio about four years ago. Giving Tuesday is a movement to create an international day of charitable giving on the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving at the beginning of the holiday season.

“We’ve filled up so many boxes with donations over the years,” she said, adding that donations were collected for the women’s shelter at Crosspoint during the second year of the event, whereas DACC’s food pantry has benefited the other three years.

The DACC food pantry was launched in 2012 after faculty and staff recognized there were students who were hungry and they wanted to do something to support them.

The DACC Foundation maintains a storage room filled with canned goods, ready-to-eat meals and personal care items to help DACC students each month who are at 150 percent of poverty level.

Some of the basic necessities that are routinely stocked in the DACC food pantry include: peanut butter, canned meats, pasta, spaghetti sauce, canned fruits and vegetables, Ramen noodles, cereal, soup, crackers, granola bars, shampoo, soap, deodorant, female hygiene supplies, razors, shaving cream, toothpaste, toothbrushes, hand lotion, dish soap, laundry detergent and diapers.

A monetary donation this summer allowed the foundation to purchase a freezer to store meat and frozen meals.

During the 2018 fiscal year, 73 students and 165 additional family members have used the food pantry a total of 283 times, according to the foundation’s data.

Halfway through the four-hour Giving Tuesday event, Rose Butler, tutor and mentor at the TRIO Student Success Center, said, “Food donations are coming in from all over campus.”

Although the TRIO Student Success Center on the first floor of Cannon Hall was the main drop off location for the donations, other drop off sites were set up at the Mary Miller Complex, the technology building and Clock Tower.

“Although we have the most contributions at the student success center, we like to set up in every building to give every staff member and student a chance to donate,” Wright said.

“The students like the easy, ready-to-go meals because they have microwaves in the student union they can use,” she said.

The boxes of food and personal care items will be delivered to the foundation office today.

Wright said she is always thrilled with the support the food drive receives every year.

“It warms my heart every year that we have a chance to give back to our students,” she said. “If you can give to others, that’s what the season of giving is all about.”

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