Seward County Community College students should never go hungry — and thanks to a new project on campus, Saints have another source for nourishment and supplies.
The ABPS Division project SaintsUp Pantry, offering food and necessities, will open the pantry with an on-campus soft launch at 3 p.m. Oct. 3. The event is the culmination of a months-long project supported by the college, students, and community members.
“The pantry was proposed and designed by the ABPS division, and the enthusiasm continues as we work with students in the programs.” said Deedee Flax, Division Chair of agriculture, business, and personal services. “We realized that many of our students struggle with food insecurity and the business division wanted to do something to help. It’s a great project for our division, and more importantly, it’s going to do a lot of good for all students on campus.”
SCCC Ag, Business, and Personal Services Program coordinator Megan Bryan led an on-campus publicity campaign to solicit suggestions to name the pantry as the spring 2022 semester drew to a close. The winner, SaintsUp, reflects the optimism and community spirit of the project.
“We’ve been overwhelmed with the generosity of the Liberal community and hope the community continues to support with donated items to stock the pantry,” said Flax. “We have had generous donors, such as SCCC board of trustees member Kay Burtzloff who donated a freezer, the Danny Finley Legacy Fund’s gift of a refrigerator, and start-up supplies from the Liberal Area Coalition for Families.”
Over the summer, maintenance crew emptied and refurbished a little-used supply room adjacent to the SCCC Library. The Presidential Scholars, Bryan, and Flax painted the shelves and walls white and Seward green. Bree Downs, auto body instructor, is creating a Saints decal to place on the wall. Student workers and Bryan stocked everything from ramen noodles to toilet paper and toothpaste, with more donations slated to arrive before the grand opening.
“Our Cosmetology program donated hair and face care products and our Ag department has been generous enough to offer vegetables and fruits for the pantry when they have some ready in the greenhouses,” said Bryan “We hope to keep a basic supply of fresh and frozen foods on hand. It might take a while to figure out the rotation and the amount but that’s something we will learn.”
Flax noted that accounting students will handle inventory control, the computer information systems students have assembled a program to do so, and economics instructor Hiran Gunasekara has used the project as a teaching tool as well. Students in her computer design class are at work on a website for the pantry.
“It’s definitely been a labor of love,” she said. Flax noted the library staff cheerfully made space for early donations of canned foods and many bags stuffed with cleaning supplies and more.
“We’re really excited to have it here,” said SCCC Library Director Casandra Norin.
The SaintsUp Pantry will be open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 11:00 am – 2:00 pm and Tuesday and Thursday’s from 8:00 sm– 10:00 am. . The pantry is available to SCCC students.
“Thanks to KelliJo Brown who came up with the motto: ‘take what you need and give what you can,’” said Flax. “The important thing is to make sure no one is struggling for basic necessities and food.”
Cash donations can be accepted by contacting Megan Bryan. Food, hygiene and other donations can be left at the library, the college’s main information desk, the ABPS office pod or call 620.417.1351 to make arrangements.