ECSU students, left to right, Christian Jones, Greg Miller, Dominick Cotton, and Kevin Caldwell delivered food to assist in the launch of a food pantry at Oscar C. Smith High School in Chesapeake, Virginia Wednesday, Dec. 5. They were greeted by high school principal Paul Joseph, right.
On the morning of Wednesday, Dec. 5, a group of Elizabeth City State University students traveled to Oscar C. Smith High School in Chesapeake, Virginia with two trunk-loads of food. ECSU students Christian Jones, Greg Miller, Dominick Cotton, and Kevin Caldwell unloaded the food donation and began helping the high school establish its own food pantry.
According to ECSU’s Vikings Care Food Pantry director, Dr. Jennifer Brown, the food donation launched ECSU’s Pantry Pioneer Program.
“This effort supports what has already been an ongoing effort and act of love of the teachers of Oscar Smith, who have been helping to target a portion of their 2,200 students,” said Dr. Brown who, along with director of community engagement, Russ Haddad, accompanied the students to Virginia.
Dr. Brown said the high school is aiming to do everything possible to help their students. They have been receiving donations from churches and individuals, with teacher Lynn Savoy passing items out regularly to hungry students.
“We felt so honored that they would trust us and let us come be a part of things,” said Dr. Brown.
The ECSU food pantry team spent time with high school Principal Paul Joseph and others, sharing what has worked in the Vikings Care Food Pantry.
ECSU started its Vikings Care Food Pantry in December 2017 to help university students who need a little extra food to get by during the semester. The pantry has been sustained through donations of food and personal items, grants and partnering with the Food Bank of the Albemarle.
One of the largest donations was presented to Dr. Brown this past September by Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. (AKA) during its regional conference. It was at that conference that Dr. Brown met AKA member Anita Morgan, a teacher at Oscar C. Smith.
Ms. Morgan expressed the high school’s desire to start a pantry and sought guidance from ECSU. That was the seed that started the Pantry Pioneer Program.
Dr. Brown explained that the Pantry Pioneer Program is based civic engagement concepts aimed at getting college and high school students involved in hunger relief while having better conversations about how to meet those needs in the community. The goal of the program is to make a difference in local high schools throughout North Carolina and Virginia. Qualifying factors include high needs status, motivated faculty members to run the program, a secure location and supportive administrators.
“Oscar C. Smith is officially the first “Pantry Pioneer Plant” of the Vikings Care Food Pantry,” said Dr. Brown.
The group is looking forward to more contact in the future to help the staff find additional and long-term support mechanisms to sustain their efforts at the school.
For information about the Vikings Care Food Pantry or the Pantry Pioneer Program, email Dr. Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org.