LEMONT FURNACE, Pa. — Penn State Fayette, The Eberly Campus has maintained a food pantry to support students with food insecurities since 2016. But when the coronavirus pandemic set an economic crisis into motion across the country in March, the food pantry became an essential function of the campus.
“The food pantry ensures that our students do not have to worry about when their next meal may be. This will continue to help our students be successful,” said Amanda Collins, campus mental health counselor and manager of the food pantry. As much as 16% of Fayette County residents lack sufficient access to food, according to data collected by the Coalition Against Hunger.
On May 7 and 8, the campus held its first contactless, drive-thru food pantry service, placing prepared boxes of donations in students’ trunks. “I think this event could be held again in the future, even after the pandemic,” said Collins. In past semesters, the food pantry has offered pop-up services for mid-terms and holidays.
Faculty, staff, and members of the community have kept the food pantry stocked with a variety of non-perishable food items and personal care products. Current critical needs include jelly, peanut butter, cereal, granola bars, macaroni and cheese, ramen noodles, canned fruits and vegetables, soup, pasta and pasta sauce, instant mashed potatoes and rice.
Collins added, “We are currently developing ways to better track usage, such as purchasing a scale to track weight.”
The Penn State Fayette food pantry accepts donations of non-perishable food items, Monday through Friday, from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Items must be deposited in the grey bin located in the rear of the Williams building. Contributors are encouraged to use the sanitation wipes provided in the box to sanitize donations.
There are no eligibility requirements for Penn State Fayette students to access the food pantry. For more information, contact Ronette Poorbaugh, campus nurse, at [email protected].