Phi Theta Kappa Members Volunteer to Support Cougar Cabinet
Prior to the outbreak of COVID-19 in the United States, approximately 35.2 million Americans were affected by food insecurity. That means around one in every nine individuals went hungry. Food insecurity has taken a new toll on the college student demographic since the start of the pandemic. Many students lost reliable access to their food supply.
The LCCC food pantry, the Cougar Cabinet, has been serving students and their families in our communities for almost five years. Over the past year, they have seen a great increase of students in need of the pantry’s support.
At the start of the Fall semester, LCCC’s chapter of the national honor society, Phi Theta Kappa, recognized the increased need and wanted to create a project to support the Cougar Cabinet. Members volunteered throughout the semester to unload, sort, and pack food and health items in preparation for the twice a week distribution to students and their family members in need.
Cristian Vasquez, PTK Vice President and volunteer, reflected on the hours he served, which added up to more than 20 hours of service. “I felt a sense of satisfaction just knowing that what I was doing would contribute to benefit someone or a family,” Vasquez said.
In total, the Cougar Cabinet supported nearly 200 LCCC families, 86 at the Schnecksville location and 111 at the Allentown pantry.
Within this academic year, the Cougar Cabinet has purchased more than 11 tons of food and products between the two pantries. A majority of these purchases come from the Second Harvest Food Bank, a supporter of LCCC and fellow food pantry service available to local communities.
While the pantry does assist our community members in having short-term food resources, Director of Student Life and PTK Adviser, Gene Eden, believes food insecurity needs to be addressed on a larger scale.
“To eradicate food insecurity requires addressing societal issues of a livable minimum wage, affordable housing, and affordable and accessible healthcare,” Eden said. Community members who would like to make a monetary or food donation to the Cougar Cabinet can contact Gene Eden at firstname.lastname@example.org.