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SaintsUp Pantry Set to Open for Students Oct. 3

Joe Denoyer - September 29, 2022 3:21 pm

By Rachel Coleman SCCC

Seward County Community College students should never go hungry — and thanks to a new project on campus, Saints have another source for nourishment and supplies.

The SaintsUp Pantry, offering food and necessities, will kick off operations with a grand opening for students at 3 p.m. Oct. 3. The event is the culmination of a months-long project supported by the college, students, and community members.

“The pantry was proposed by our accounting instructor KelliJo Brown, and her enthusiasm caught on through the entire division,” said Deedee Flax, division chair of agriculture, business, and personal services. “She realized that many of our students struggle with food insecurity and she wanted to do something to help. It’s a great project for our business students, and more importantly, it’s going to do a lot of good for all students on campus.”

SCCC Ag, Business, and Personal Services division coordinator Megan Bryan led an on-campus publicity campaign to solicit suggestions to name the pantry as the spring 2022 semester drew to a close. The winner, SaintsUp, reflects the optimism and community spirit of the project.

“We’ve been overwhelmed with the generosity of community partners,” said Flax. SCCC board of trustees member Kay Burtzloff donated a freezer and the Danny Finley Legacy Fund donated a refrigerator.

Over the summer, maintenance crew emptied and refurbished a little-used supply room adjacent to the SCCC Library. The Presidential Scholars, Bryan, and Flax painted the shelves and walls white and Seward green. Bree Downs, auto body instructor, is creating a Saints decal to place on the wall. Student workers and Bryan stocked everything from ramen noodles to toilet paper and toothpaste, with more donations slated to arrive before the grand opening.

“Our Cosmetology program donated hair and face care products and our Ag department has been generous enough to offer vegetables and fruits for the pantry when they have some ready in the greenhouses,” said Bryan “We hope to keep a basic supply of fresh and frozen foods on hand. It might take a while to figure out the rotation and the amount but that’s something we will learn.”

Flax noted that accounting students will handle inventory control, the computer information systems students have assembled a program to do so, and economics instructor Hiran Gunasekara has used the project as a teaching tool as well.

“It’s definitely been a labor of love,” Flax said. She noted the library staff cheerfully made space for early donations of canned foods and many bags stuffed with cleaning supplies and more.

“We’re really excited to have it here,” said SCCC Library Director Casandra Norin.

The SaintsUp Pantry will be open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and from 8 to 10 a.m. on Tuesday and Thursday. The hours may be subject to change as the students and volunteer staffers work out the schedule, Flax added.

“Our motto is ‘take what you need and give what you can,’” she said. “The important thing is to make sure no one is struggling for basic necessities and food.”

SaintsUp donations can be left at the ABPS Pod in AA120 or the library, or call 620-417-1351 to make arrangements.


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