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    NLC hosts annual drive-thru pantry

    Student+athlete+Ethan+Fancher+loads+groceries+into+community+members+cars+during%0Afood+pantry+drive.
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    Student athlete Ethan Fancher loads groceries into community members cars during food pantry drive.

    Every year, North Lake Campus hosts a Drive-Thru Pantry Day to help and give back to the community. It’s open to all in need of a bit of support. This year’s Drive was nothing short of a success.

    Kim McNeal, Resource Lead Coordinator for Basic Needs and Community Connection, coordinated the Drive on Sept. 20. The turnout was the biggest one this campus has had.

    From 9 a.m. to noon, McNeal, student-athletes, athletics staff members and volunteers were out running the food drive in the parking lot. The Drive was broken into four lines which started in front of the tennis courts and went as far as Walnut Hill Lane.

    Student Care Coordinator Carrie Kenner said, “This is double what we normally have, but we should have expected the turnout due to inflation hitting everyone’s pocketbooks.” Families are still recovering from COVID-19 and dealing with inflation, and the drive is helping to provide.

    “This event is student and community-centered,” McNeal said. “Everything we do is to benefit the students and the community as a whole. Many parts are involved in getting a food drive together.”

    McNeal said there are many operation logistics from collaborating with other campuses, notifying with her director and the associate dean, as well as contacting the police department. “We have to ensure it goes along with the North Texas Food Bank and that the Drive is convenient for the drivers with the time of day,” McNeal said. “Coach Sommers was also essential in creating a successful food drive. And they did an amazing job.”

    Students and faculty got involved by signing up through the Student Care Network,where they volunteer year-round. The number of volunteers helped make the event smooth and efficient.

    Athletes, coaches and staff posed for a group photo after
    finishing the food drive. (F)

    Over 100 student-athletes rotated in and out of the food drive. Players from basketball, volleyball, soccer and baseball contributed to the event and placed the groceries into people’s cars. “And they did an amazing job,” McNeal said.

    Volunteering at the drive is a part of the partnership the athletic department does to give back.

    Athletic Director Greg Sommers said, “This event is an opportunity to give back to the community and have people be aware that Dallas College North Lake is here to serve.”

    The food pantry at NLC is a part of the Student Care Network.

    The Student Care Network helps students who require assistance with financial needs, food or clothing insecurity, and transportation challenges.

    McNeal said, “[Students] can go to the Student Care Network on the Dallas College page to sign up and volunteer and just come by the pantry for more information from a staff member for basic care needs.”

    McNeal noted that NLC has a clothing closet in addition to the food pantry.

    Both are always in need of volunteers and donations to continue running. Students seeking community service hours have opportunities to volunteer at the food pantry or clothing closet.

    “So that’s another option because at the end of the day, when you ask who wins, the student wins. Dallas College wins,” Kenner said.

    To access the food pantry, students must fill out a short application, which the staff does every fall to access the pantry year-round.

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    Faith Lungu, Contributing Writer

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