Food pantries at Longview, Penn Valley one more way to help students

Justin Kelleher (from left), Tyler Reeder, Ami Khalsa, Robert Corbin Odom and Joshua Malisos are the MCC-Longview PTK officers who brought the Grocery Hub to life.

Metropolitan Community College-Longview students having trouble getting all the food they need at home now have another resource: the Grocery Hub on campus.

Longview’s Phi Theta Kappa academic honor society launched the food pantry last fall. Students who need food are encouraged to fill a bag from the Grocery Hub to take home.

This is the second food pantry to be established at an MCC campus. MCC-Penn Valley’s program, the Scouts’ Cupboard, opened in the fall of 2016.

And a third may be just around the corner: MCC-Maple Woods has also proposed a food pantry program, which could kick off later this semester or early summer.

MCC-Longview

The PTK chapter at Longview spent several months planning the Grocery Hub there.

The topic of college food pantries “was hitting the news a lot,” said Keet Kopecky, PTK co-advisor.  “Literally hundreds of them were popping up around the United States.”

Students considered a number of projects but landed on the Grocery Hub because it would benefit students the most.

Donation baskets have been placed around campus in several spots:

  • In the Enrollment Center break room
  • On the administrative top floor of the Martin Campus Center
  • In the Science & Technology breakroom
  • Outside of the Liberal Arts workroom near the division offices
  • In the Business building mailroom

The Grocery Hub is seeking non-perishable food items and in particular high-protein main dish items such as meaty stews and soups, ravioli, mac and cheese, and pork and beans.

A poster promoting MCC-Longview’s food pantry

Students take pride in what they provide in the Grocery Hub; you’ll find fresh fruit and bread but no sweets. Since the launch, a little more than a ton of food has been provided to more than 500 people. They serve about two dozen students per week.

The Grocery Hub is located in Learning Resources 226, next door to the Learning Center. Hours are 11 a.m.–2 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Friday.

“It’s definitely been a heartwarming experience serving the pantry,” said Justin Kelleher, PTK vice president of service. “A lot of the students are just so grateful after they take a bag.”

The Hub is run entirely by students, including PTK officers and volunteers. The PTK recruits volunteers at the beginning of every month at meetings.

Aside from food, monetary donations are also welcome. You’re invited to email Keet Kopecky at Keet.Kopecky@mcckc.edu to make arrangements.

Looking toward the future, the Hub is hoping to start working with a community food bank depository in the Lee’s Summit area to better serve the community.

MCC-Penn Valley

The food pantry at MCC-Penn Valley has seen its share of success as well. So far this school year, about 600 people total, including 200 students, have benefited from the pantry. Many students have families at home who also need extra food.

“Just hearing those numbers, it’s just crazy,” said Marlon Jones, a sophomore student volunteer.

Jones recalled helping a student who had a family of three that was struggling. He led the student around the food pantry and made sure he got what he needed.

“It made me feel good to be a part of that connection to find that resource to help him and his family,” Jones said.

Student Katie Miller, an MCC-Penn Valley food pantry volunteer, stocks the shelves.

The food pantry has moved from its original location in Campus Center to a room in the Disability Support Services office, Humanities 001.

Donations may be delivered to the DDS office during regular office hours: 8 a.m.-4:30 p..m. Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, and 8 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday.

Food pantry hours this semester are 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Monday; 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Tuesday; 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Wednesday; noon-4 p.m. Thursday; and 10 a.m.-noon Friday.

In an exciting update, the food pantry at MCC-Penn Valley is now a Harvesters partner.

“This means we can shop through them for items for the pantry at a much reduced rate and buy items by the pound,” said Shelby Coxon, Campus Life & Leadership coordinator. “This will help our small budget, which is all donation-based,  go much further to assist our students.”

MCC employees interested in donating monetarily may now do so through an account set up through the MCC Foundation. Employees can make a one-time donation or a recurring paycheck deduction. For more information, click here.

On Fridays, Panera Extras are still available for students. The day-old bagels and other items are in the Campus Center lobby beginning at 8:30 a.m.