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Randolph opens food pantry to help community members who are food insecure

Student volunteers Madeline Owens '20 and Avery Payne '21 helped cut the ribbon for the official opening of the Randolph College Food Pantry on Wednesday.

Student volunteers Madeline Owens ’20 and Avery Payne ’21 helped cut the ribbon for the official opening of the Randolph College Food Pantry on Wednesday.

Thanks to Randolph’s Community Fellows group and Park View Community Mission, a new campus food pantry is now open in Room 107 of Moore Hall. The pantry is intended to help any students, faculty, and staff in need.

Food insecurity is a growing problem in the United States. One in eight Americans, or about 40 million people, are food insecure. Fortunately, the number of food pantries is growing every year, providing much-needed food and support for those who need it. The College and University Food Bank Alliance, which tracks food pantries on college campuses, had over 640 members as of June 2018, and that number is going up with every new semester.

An official ribbon cutting ceremony for Randolph’s pantry took place Wednesday afternoon.

“I feel like a lot of people have had a long passion for serving others at this College, and when we talk about the life more abundant, we mean the life more abundant for all, not just ourselves,” said Wes Fugate, vice president for student affairs and dean of students. “In times when we all have struggles, we want someone to be there for us and help us, and that’s what we aim to do with this food pantry.”

Fugate said the pantry will help commuter students who are food insecure as well as residential students who can’t afford their own groceries when the dining hall is closed during breaks. It will also aid faculty and staff who might be experiencing life circumstances in which buying food is a challenge.

Avery Payne ’21 and other members of Randolph’s Community Fellows program have been studying food insecurity, and he and several members recently returned from a trip to Portugal, where they worked on a food rescue project through Refood International. As part of the food pantry project on campus, the students picked out foods at Park View Mission that would meet the needs of the Randolph community.

“We have commuter and residential students, faculty and staff, and others who need access to food, and this is just another step to help battle food insecurity and the food desert we’re in here in Lynchburg,” Payne said.

Randolph’s pantry is supplied by Park View Community Mission, and will provide non-perishable items and resources on how to secure perishable items. Randolph Chaplain Jennifer Moore will oversee the pantry. Anyone needing access to the pantry may contact her at jmoore@randolphcollege.edu, 434-947-8294, or at her office just outside the Office of the Dean of Students in Main Hall. Those who need assistance may also contact Jill Mazzone, executive assistant to the vice president for student affairs and dean of students, at jmazzone@randolphcollege.edu or Wes Fugate, vice president for student affairs and dean of students, at wfugate@randolphcollege.edu.



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