Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBS) was so impressed with Wayne Community College’s effort to stem student food insecurity that it contributed to the project.
Blue Cross NC has been conducting an “Extra Miles Tour” to meet with community leaders who are collaborating on solutions to improve the health and well-being of all North Carolinians.
One of the initiatives discussed during the tour’s stop in Wayne County was the college’s Bison Pantry which provides students with food as well as household and hygiene items. That venture impressed Blue Cross NC personnel, according to Blue Cross NC Community Engagement and Marketing Activation Director Cheryl Parquet
“You all have so much to be proud of, and we had a great time learning about the healthcare initiatives happening across the county,” Parquet said. “As we embark on this tour to visit counties across NC, we also want to support great programs and institutions through charitable donations. We’d like to make a $5,000 contribution to Wayne Community College to support the Bison food pantry.”
That gift “should cover at least a year,” said WCC Case Manager Maggie Crandall, who manages the pantry.
She sets out food in a “pop up pantry” for those needing breakfast or lunch each day plus supplies boxes of food for students’ families and special bags for holiday meals.
Crandall said the pantry is serving five to seven students daily and more for holidays.
“It is a very utilized service. There are a lot of students in need,” she said.
“What we are giving them is not just snacks, but also brain food,” Crandall said. She noted that she is careful about special needs such as allergies or dietary restrictions to ensure that no one is excluded.