The Little Free Pantry on the campus of Surry Community College has been awarded a $1,500 grant from Reynolds Ministry through a partnership with Central United Methodist Church in Mount Airy.
This is the second grant of its kind received, as the pantry received an initial grant of $1,000 through the Reynolds Ministry in 2020 due to the unique nature of the pandemic. During that time, over 250 homemade masks were also distributed through the pantry.
The Little Free Pantry was established in February of 2018 and provides food and supplies to anyone on campus or in the community needing assistance. It is a cabinet placed outside on the college’s Dobson campus, in an accessible but discreet location near the library and tennis courts. It contains pre-packaged meals, canned goods, diapers, hygiene products, face masks, and other donated items.
The Little Free Pantry is a college ministry started by SCC English and Religion Instructor Kennette Thomas of Mount Airy, who is also an ordained minister of the Deacon order of the United Methodist Church. Students, faculty, staff, and community members are welcome to take what they need from the pantry and donate what they can so others can be helped.
"Although use of the pantry was substantial in the first two years during 2018-2019, the pandemic ramped up a need for a wider variety of foods, cleaning items, and personal PPE,” explains Thomas. “As we have expanded our offerings to help a broader scope of persons in our community, we have noticed a need, consistently, to stock the pantry once or twice per week, which can sometimes cost upwards of $150-200 per shopping trip, depending on the number or types of items and where they are purchased."
Thomas went on to say that, "Now, with the cost of basic items rising, such as diapers, we are grateful for this well-timed grant to help fill in the gaps when individual or personal donations might not be enough to maintain a certain level of inventory."
The Reynolds Ministry Fund was established by Royce and Jane Reynolds of Greensboro. The late Royce Reynolds, philanthropist and founder of Crown Automotive, established the fund through the United Methodist Foundation of Western North Carolina, Inc.
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