By Jada Yanek
Due to financial hardships, many may find it hard to pay for food and other basic necessities. With help from NCC’s Main and Monroe campus food pantries, the school lends a hand to any NCC student, staff or faculty by supplying these needs for free.
“To date, NCC’s food pantries have served over 3,000 patrons and their families,” Coordinator of Bethlehem’s pantry Andrea Corrado said.
“Bethlehem’s pantry, H.O.P.E. stands for ‘Helping Our Peers Excel,’” Corrado explained. The pantry holds a variety of nonperishable foods and products, including canned fruits, soups, vegetables, peanut butter, jelly, snack bars, cereal, rice, sauce and pastas. It carries refrigerator and freezer items, as well as items for personal care, like shampoo, deodorant, toilet paper and paper towels.
In 2015, an NCC nursing student expressed concern over seeing a peer live out of their car with limited access to food.After hearing about this, members of NCC’s Nursing Student Organization worked over a year to establish a college pantry space and a partnership with Second Harvest Food Bank of the Lehigh Valley. As a result, H.O.P.E. pantry began Sept. 12, 2016.
“Our food pantry was one of the first college-based pantries in the Lehigh Valley,” Corrado said.
With the success of H.O.P.E. pantry, Corrado initiated a pantry at NCC’s Monroe campus, nursing professor Antoinette McCreary explained. The Monroe pantry, Compassionate Aid and Resources for Everyone (C.A.R.E.), was created in 2018.
“C.A.R.E. pantry carries the same food and basic care items as H.O.P.E. pantry,” McCreary said.
Corrado and McCreary expressed that the H.O.P.E. and C.A.R.E. pantries are always in need of and welcoming volunteers.
To volunteer a short food safety and civil rights training is required, Corrado said. Volunteers may help patrons sign in, track patron numbers, check and log temperatures of the refrigerator and freezer, check for expired items, rotate, stock and date and put away donations.
Donations can be placed in the grocery carts located outside of each pantry’s respective location.
Katherine Sparling volunteers at H.O.P.E. pantry as assistant coordinator. She provides progress reports and updates of organization activities to NSO officers and advisors, receives deliveries from Second Harvest Food Bank, sorts food, stocks shelves and trains other volunteers.
“Volunteering has made me a better person who is more empathetic and conscientious of others,” Sparling said. “It opened my eyes to the struggle of others and is helping to guide my journey as a nursing student to provide my clients with the best care I can.”
Kimberly Dwyer, secretary for NSO, also volunteers at H.O.P.E. pantry. Notably, she helped organize the pantry’s holiday food drive.
“Volunteering makes me feel good!” Dwyer said. “I definitely like to help whenever I can.” Victoria Delande volunteers at C.A.R.E. pantry as the student coordinator.
“Volunteering at the pantry has given me a greater sense of gratitude,” Delande said. “I have met a lot of different people from all different walks of life. It is also very rewarding helping them know that we have this resource here on campus, no matter how small they may think their need is.”
“Volunteering makes me happy,” said Jessie Scott, also a C.A.R.E. pantry volunteer. “I enjoy helping people.”
If one cannot volunteer, donating items is another way to help the pantries. These can be cereal, oatmeal, fruit in individual servings, protein bars, shelf stable milk and juices, pasta sauce, rice, microwavable meals, reusable grocery totes and bags, deodorant, shampoo and conditioner, feminine hygiene products, toilet paper and paper towels.
“At NCC, we are committed to our students’ success,” Corrado said. “Pursuing a college education should not compete with the right to have consistent access to adequate and nutritious food.”
H.O.P.E. pantry is located in Penn Hall, room 122-A. Patrons must present an NCC ID. During Spring semester, H.O.P.E. pantry is open Mondays 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and Tuesdays and Thursdays 11 a.m. to noon. To make an alternate appointment email firstname.lastname@example.org.
C.A.R.E. pantry is located in Kapp Hall at the lower-level lobby. During the Spring semester, the pantry is open March 16 and 30, and April 13 and 27 from 1:30 –3:00 p.m. To make an alternative appointment, please email email@example.com.