Food pantry giving students a helping hand

Published: Jul. 19, 2022 at 7:14 PM CDT
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POCAHONTAS, Ark. (KAIT) - From pasta to dress shoes, the Black River Technical College is making sure its students have everything they need on a regular basis.

The Food Pantry and Clothing Closet gives those students who may not know where their next meal is coming from a place to go.

The pantry opened up in 2016 with this goal in mind.

Dietary Instructor, Christina Derbes, who also oversees the pantry, said food insecurity is an issue close to her heart.

“As a child, I grew up where the food pantry was something my family had to use,” she said. “So I know exactly what some of these kids are going through, and I am so happy with my background I can make that happen.”

There is no income check to get food from the pantry. Derbes just asks students about dietary restrictions and fills a box with enough meals for a family of four to last about four days.

When Derbes and other instructors opened the food pantry, they noticed there was another need to help students who were trying to get into the workforce. That is when they decided to start collecting clothes

“If they have a job interview to go to but they don’t have the right clothes, so they can come in and pick out an outfit,” she said. “We have shoes we have a little bit of jewelry for the ladies as well.”

The pantry is solely made up of donations from staff and people around the community, and Derbes said she loves being able to impact a student’s life.

“Whether it be helping them with food or helping them have a nice outfit to go to that job interview so they can get that job, it’s wonderful,” she said.

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