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Blue Bear Food Pantry to open through Livingstone, Food Lion partnership

Livingstone College commuter students won’t have to worry about coming to school hungry anymore, thanks to the Blue Bear Food Pantry.

Food Lion provided more than 5,000 meals to initially stock the Blue Bear Food Pantry, which opened Monday. The pantry will be open from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m. on Tuesdays and Fridays and is expected to serve 225 students each week. It is located in Livingstone’s Ballard Hall.

“Students will learn better when they’re well-nourished,” said Food Lion President Meg Ham.

Livingstone President Dr. Jimmy R. Jenkins, Sr. said the pantry fits perfectly with the college’s health and wellness initiative because it provides well-balanced and healthy food options to students in need.

According to a press release from Livingstone and Food Lion, recent data from Feeding America suggests that nearly 10 percent of food bank clients are college students.

Jenkins said it was Food Lion’s idea to open the food pantry on Livingstone’s campus. “Of course, we were very interested in the program.”

He added that the food pantry will help students “stretch their budget” even further as they pay for college and miss out on opportunities to work while they attend to their studies.

Student eligibility to benefit from the food pantry will come from a set of need-based criteria, according to Dr. Orlando Lewis, vice president of student affairs.

Students cannot be on the college’s food plan and must apply for federal financial aid, he said.

Brittany McCall, a junior at Livingstone, said a lot of her friends are out of state students who don’t have family nearby to lean on financially and that the food pantry would be especially beneficial to them.

Lewis said the college’s social work students will be able to take on a leadership role with the food pantry through internship opportunities and community service projects.

Livingstone is one of roughly 100 college campuses nationwide to open a food pantry. Food Lion has partnered with three other colleges to establish food pantries as a part of its Food Lion Feeds program, which has committed to provide 500 million meals to individuals and families in need by the end of 2020.

“This is one of our major communities we serve,” Ham said. “This is our hometown.”

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