WINTERVILLE—Just as they did in the wake of Hurricane Florence in 2018, Pitt Community College counseling staff are drawing from their department’s on-campus food pantry to assist students in need.
Earlier this month, counselors donned facemasks and distributed bags of non-perishable food items to students adversely affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Those who came by the Craig F. Goess Student Center also received hygiene products and, if needed, baby items.
“The students who came to get food last week were very appreciative,” said PCC Senior Director of Student Advocacy Kimberly Williamson. “They spoke words of thanks and had smiles on their faces. One student said that she had several children in the home and that this food was going to be so helpful.”
All of the items distributed to students were donated to the pantry, which is part of PCC counseling’s Student Assistance Program (SAP). The program also features personal counseling and referrals to community agencies (when extensive therapeutic care is needed) to help students continue making progress toward completion of their educational goals.
“Academic pressures aren’t the only difficulties our students face,” said PCC Lead Counselor Olivia Sutton. “Many battle financial struggles, family difficulties and/or mental health challenges as well. SAP helps ensure their basic needs are met, so they can be successful in the classroom.”
Williamson says the pantry’s current food supply is limited, so when counselors reached out this month, they targeted students who utilized SAP services during the 2019-20 academic year. Bad weather limited turnout on the first distribution date, so counselors held a second one week later.
“I was glad to be able to help these students,” Williamson said. “It’s nice to make connections with them and see their faces while so much of the campus community is either studying or working remotely due to the pandemic.”
PCC Counselor Mecca Waller said food pantry donations are accepted throughout the year. Along with canned goods and non-perishable items, the department seeks toiletries, diapers, wipes and gift cards, she said, adding that monetary donations can be made to the SAP Food Scholarship by calling the PCC Foundation at (252) 493-7287.
For more information on PCC counseling services or how to contribute to the food pantry, email email@example.com or call (252) 493-7245.