JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Getting a higher education can be expensive, so members of a non-profit organization are doing their part to give students some relief.
The Bread of Life Mobile Food Pantry rolled onto the Arkansas State University Newport's campus in Jonesboro on Wednesday.
This program was established about a year ago as a joint effort between the First United Methodist Church in Harrisburg and the ASU Wesley Foundation.
The mobile truck provides food to students on two-year college campuses in Northeast Arkansas.
Reverend Clark Atkins of the First United Methodist Church said they were trying to make a difference.
"We wanted to meet a need," Reverend Atkins said. "Knowing that college students do a lot to try and better their lives and stuff for their families, we wanted to kind of relieve a little bit of that burden. But we also wanted to help connect them with others in the community so they can get some additional support so they can be successful students."
Director of the Arkansas State University Wesley Foundation Samantha Meadors said it's a real problem they have seen.
"We know that college students, particularly two-year college students have a need," Meadors said. "They need food provided for them like any other college student. They're often working full-time jobs, going to school full time and taking care of a family and so we know they could use a little extra support to help relieve some of the stress of college life."
Reverend Atkins said he and those who work with him were excited for the opportunity to help others.
"Many of the students are in the program full time," Reverend Atkins said. "And when they're in the program full time it means they can't really have any outside employment. They're really doing to school all the time. Once their financial check runs out or things, sometimes these groceries can be a stop gap in those moments between when other funding might come through. So, it helps them in those times of need and emergency. We're happy to be able to provide that."
ASU Newport student Cody Barnett was one of the many students to receive a bag of groceries.
Barnett said as a student, stretching those dollars can be hard.
"It's expensive trying to balance everything," Barnett said. "It's hard to make ends meet. Books aren't cheap, buying clothes aren't [sic] cheap. You know, everything costs money and every little bit of help, helps."
The Bread of Life Mobile Food Pantry has wheeled onto campuses all over Northeast Arkansas.
"This is our first time at ASU Newport in Jonesboro," Meadors said. "Bread of Life has been going for the last year. We've been to ASU Newport, ASU Newport in Marked Tree, ASU Beebe, and so we're here for the first time this year. So, we're excited."
Meadors said meeting this need means a lot to her.
"I love working with college students," Meadors said. "This particularly is close to my heart because we see how gracious people are for someone to really care about them. College students can sometimes feel lonely and isolated and we want them to know there's a community out there that loves and supports them and knows that what they're doing for themselves and their families is making a difference."
Reverend Atkins said everyone should do what they can to help out.
"It's neighbors helping neighbors," Reverend Atkins said. "Everybody in our community needs a little bit of help, especially people who are really trying to make a little bit of a better life for themselves. So, whatever we can do to help. Whether it's donating food, giving money to a local food pantry or helping out by volunteering and distributing groceries, all of these things can help."
The Bread of Life Mobile Food Pantry makes deliveries once a month.
For more information, log onto their website.
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