Fayetteville Tech opens first food pantry to help students struggling from pandemic

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- In an effort to assist students amid a global pandemic and the upcoming holiday season, Fayetteville Technical Community College has opened its very first food pantry this week.

On Tuesday afternoon, the college held a ribbon cutting for the pantry, which started as an idea just months before.

"It was extremely fast, yes, and grateful for our department. A lot of hands, uh, to put all of this together," Marlina Pineiro, the Interim Director of Student Activities, said.

Pineiro is in charge of the food pantry and already established Success Closet for students in need. The newest addition is geared to students like Amonte Rucinski who are needing a helping hand during difficult times.

"Using the food pantry, it can help, at least, benefit me in saving money," Rucinski said.

The Fayetteville local is a year and half into his time at FTCC. Rucinski is currently taking 12 hours of college credits and working 20 hours as a work study on campus. He tells Eyewitness News that having access to some of these meal options is allowing him to focus on bills and other payments.

"Something to fix on my car or need to pay a bill off or something like that. To have more utility things to do with the money than just go out and shop," Rucinski added.

FTCC officials say any student with a campus ID can access the food pantry. All they have to do is go to the Early Childhood Education Building, on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and pick up a flyer with a list of meal options. From there, the can choose the groceries for the appropriate meal.

Sandy Ammons, the Executive Director of the FTCC Foundation, says this new resource is another way to provide support to students.

"For the past five years, we have distributed more than $200,000 in emergency aid. And that's rent, utilities, anything that we can do to keep our students on track and in school," Ammons told ABC 11.

Ammons credits the monetary and food donations to the Fayetteville and campus community. Since opening on Tuesday, they've already seen several students trickle in for some support. "A lot of folks are coming together to fill our shelves and keep them filled."

FTCC officials expect to help hundreds of their students in the coming months and are still accepting donations for non-perishable foods and hygienic items.

To learn how you can help, you can go to the FTCC's website for more details.
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