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Food Pantry Opens On Richland Campus

Posted May 8, 2024 at 8:11 am

Pennsylvania Highlands Community College has established a food pantry at its Richland Campus designed to offer students the resources they need to prepare meals at home. 

The pantry, known as the Bear Necessities Food Hub, is housed in a renovated space that consists of shelving, a refrigerator, and a freezer to provide a variety of food options to Penn Highlands students. The project was funded with assistance from the Hunger-Free Campus Grant, which Penn Highlands received after being designated as a PA Governor’s Hunger-Free Campus in January. 

“This project acknowledges the on-going battle against food insecurity,” stated Carole VanMeter, Director of the College Foundation. “At Penn Highlands, we understand that both traditional and non-traditional students face unique challenges. The Bear Necessities Food Hub aims to address these needs by providing fully accessible support. We’re committed to offering local, healthy options and practical cooking ideas using minimal ingredients.” 

The Bear Necessities Food Hub will be open Monday through Thursday from 10 AM to 3 PM. It is in a space across the hall from Student Activities and Athletics, next to Financial Aid. 

A dedicated committee has been established to manage donations for the pantry and oversee the procurement of the initial food stock. Meanwhile, Information Technology (IT) at Penn Highlands is creating an inventory system designed to monitor both the flow of visitors and the distribution of food items within the pantry. 

The committee plans to use student and staff volunteers to assist in pantry operations. The College is also working with Food for Families, a branch of the Pittsburgh Food Bank, to acquire additional inventory. 

“We are providing opportunities for our students, faculty, and staff to volunteer their time to make the Bear Necessities Hub an essential part of our college,” stated Matthew Hoffman, Chief Information Officer. “By incorporating our Penn Highlands family, we can ensure our students are getting these necessities to enable them to succeed in the classroom and to achieve their career goals.”  

The College also has the Black Bear Food Share Program, which provides students with grab-and-go meals. 

For those interested in volunteering to assist in food pantry operations, contact Carole VanMeter or Matt Hoffman at foodpantry@pennhighlands.edu