News

Cubby Closet Ribbon Cutting

Food Pantry Opens on DSLCC Campus

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Categories: community, student success     /     Tags: students

Food Pantry Opens on DSLCC Campus
The DSLCC Roadrunner Cubby Closet, a food pantry for DSLCC students, has been established in the DSLCC Armory on the main campus in Clifton Forge. From left: DSLCC President Dr. John Rainone, and committee members who spearheaded the effort, Shasta Robertson, Billy Ould, Phyllis Bartley and Dr. Matt McGraw. Total Action for Progress (TAP) Alleghany Highlands Board of Commissioners is the first organization to serve as the inaugural “Adopt a Month” partner for the food pantry.

Food Pantry Opens on DSLCC Campus

A ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new food pantry for students at Dabney S. Lancaster Community College was held Monday, November 13, on the DSLCC main campus in Clifton Forge.

The “Roadrunner Cubby Closet,” which offers not only staple food items, but also clothing suitable for work attire or job interviews, is located in a former office in the DSLCC Convocation Center, also known as the Armory.

Citing food insecurity as one of the reasons many students find it difficult to focus on their education, DSLCC President Dr. John Rainone said, “DSLCC does not want students faced with the decision of whether to buy textbooks or food. Many of our students are adults with the need to feed a family in addition to themselves. Food insecurity inhibits the ability to focus on the very education that is intended to assist people in obtaining jobs and paychecks that allow them to be food secure.”

According to the Appalachian Regional Commission, the DSLCC service area has a per capita income between 68 and 82 percent of the national average, while the poverty rate is between 89 and 107 percent of the U.S. average. “The six school districts we serve have over 67 percent of low income families and students eligible for the free and reduced lunch program, which are well above the state and national average,” said Dr. Rainone.

“The fact is,” he emphasized, “the students who were hungry in high school are also hungry in college.”

The impetus to establish the food pantry, said Dr. Rainone, was supported by a 2015 study completed by four national campus-based organizations that revealed that up to 25 percent of community college students suffer from food insecurity, and more than half of all first generation students were food insecure. “DSLCC’s student body is comprised of 40 percent first-generation students,” he added.

Also noting that this is National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, Dr. Rainone thanked the DSLCC Student Senate and Covington-Hot Springs Rotary Club for being partners in the Cubby Closet, and particularly the Total Action for Progress (TAP) Alleghany Highlands Board of Commissioners, which is the first organization to serve as the inaugural “Adopt a Month” partner.

Members of the committee who spearheaded the effort to establish the Cubby Closet were recognized: Shasta Robertson, Billy Ould, Nova Wright, Phyllis Bartley, Jodi Burgess, Christie Hardbarger and Matt McGraw, who are all DSLCC staff members, and student Shanice Crouch, president of the DSLCC Student Senate. The Roadrunner Cubby Closet is a member of the College and University Food Bank Alliance.

Although a schedule has been not been established yet, Dr. Rainone said that the Cubby Closet will be open a few days a week and will be available to all DSLCC students on an honor system.

Donations are being accepted; a list of high-demand items such as rice and pasta, cans of tuna and chickens, or boxes of cereal, may be found on the web site at www.dslcc.edu/cubbycloset. Donations of clothing, particularly professional or business attire, are also welcome.

Please contact Shasta Robertson at (540) 863-2852 or via email at srobertson@dslcc.edu or Phyllis Bartley at (540) 863-2824 or via email at pbartley@dslcc.edu for more information.