BOAZ, Ala. – As students return to campus for the spring semester, Snead State Community College’s Parson Pantry also reopens to help those in need.
The Parson Pantry first opened in fall 2022, designed to aid students who may be food insecure and lacking school supplies or other necessities.
“There have been many faculty and staff members over the years wanting to get a pantry started, but nothing really came together,” said Caitlin Dickerson, a mathematics instructor who helps oversee the pantry.
“Jason Cannon, who is Vice President of Student of Services, worked the summer of 2021 to put a team together to create, implement, and run the pantry. There is a team of 10 faculty and staff members on the committee that help make the pantry what it is.
“Several saw that there was a need on our campus to help our students and the Parson Pantry is able to fulfill that need for many of our students.”
Dickerson said a recent survey conducted among students showed 45.8% of the student body considered themselves food insecure.
Located on the bottom floor of the McCain Student Center, the pantry’s door remains open during the school’s operating hours and items are free for any current Snead State students to take.
Items currently in stock include food, toiletry and hygiene products, and school supplies.
Dickerson said the pantry has been well-received by students and utilized regularly.
“The team that stocks the pantry is stocking some items almost daily,” Dickerson said.
Currently, thanks to various community partners, the pantry has been able to maintain stock of several items. One of those partners was Snead State’s TRIO Student Support Services program, which was formed to help low-income, disabled and/or first-generation college students to remain in college until they earn their associate degree and transfer to a four-year institution.
In December, TRIO conducted a project that led to the donation of 557 items to the pantry.
“Through their donation, we were able to stock several non-perishable food items and basic need items,” Dickerson said. “We are so thankful for the TRIO Program and their willingness to work hard to take on a project to help support their classmates! Their donation has and will help so many Snead students.”
However, as the spring semester gets underway, Dickerson said there could quickly be a need for specific items.
“I foresee we will be in need of laundry detergent, cleaning supplies, shampoo/conditioner, deodorant, and not perishable food such as protein shakes, protein bars, breakfast items, and easy lunch/dinner options,” Dickerson said.
Donations are accepted by the pantry at Campus Engagement, located at the bottom floor of the McCain Center, 102 Elder St. Boaz.
Monetary or gift card donations are also accepted. Checks can be mailed to the business office or they can give through PayPal, at https://www.paypal.com/donate/?cmd=_s-xclick… Donors need to click on, “Add special instructions to the seller,” and specify that it is for the Parson Pantry so the funds are allocated to the correct account.
There are future plans to expand the pantry’s offerings to include clothes, Dickerson said, but not at this time. Organizers also look forward to one day establishing pantry stations around campus for “easy, grab-to-go items for our students.”
“We sincerely thank the community for every donation we’ve received since opening just a few months ago, and we thank those who will continue to donate,” Dickerson said. “The pantry would not be possible without the support of this wonderful community.”