WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Too often, many people have the idea that being in college is a care-free time in life—no bills, no job responsibilities.
The reality is all college students are not privileged. Some are dealing with serious challenges including keeping food on the table.
“We really felt the food pantry was a dire need because there are students who are homeless who are living paycheck to paycheck,” said Deona Cureton, director of the Office of Student Conduct at Winston-Salem State University.
Winston-Salem State University has opened an on-campus food pantry housed in the Thompson Student Center.
The pantry is open Wednesday through Friday 12:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. and will assist students in need with up to five items twice per month.
Student Joe Thompson says he could see himself using the resource. He is a single father who understands the balance of juggling academics with other responsibilities.
His son Isaiah was born three years ago—during this time Thompson was not just a student, but an athlete on the basketball team.
“I would have to work late, have a full load of class, then be a father at the same time,” he said.
He spent last year playing basketball in Africa. He has since returned to finish his degree.
Thompson is one example of the type of student who could benefit from the pantry.
“That way money that I spent in groceries could go toward something else,” he said.
“We have traditional students who are working three jobs as they are carrying 18 to 20 hours,” Cureton said.
Cureton is the faculty advisor for the pantry. It will primarily be operated by members of the Student Government Association.
“Short term it would be for us to make sure the students know about it and to make sure they are utilizing it,” Da’Cor Wiggins, vice president of external affairs for Student Government Association, said.
Food Lion provided $3,000 worth of non-perishable food.
The school is working on a sustainability plan and will make any necessary adjustments once it’s able to better identify student need.