Western Carolina University and Eblen Charities have joined together to create a food pantry at WCU’s Biltmore Park instructional site, intended for a rarely considered clientele ― graduate students.
“WCU cares about student success and that their needs are being met, whether in the classroom or at home,” said Lane Perry, director of WCU’s Center for Service Learning, which is leading the university’s efforts. “We have to take into account aspects of wellness, such as proper diet and ready access to food, and not take for granted that because a person is seeking a post graduate degree they can afford it.”
Eblen Charities, the community partner for the food pantry, is an Asheville-based nonprofit that supports health, housing, medical and other assistance throughout western North Carolina. The Student Pantry is part of their Ingles / Eblen Food for Thought outreach that has been so effective throughout schools in our region.
“For Western Carolina University to reach out, beyond academics, and help students in this way is a testament to values we all hold dear,” said Bill Murdock, CEO for Eblen Charities. “We are grateful to be included, along with Ingles Markets, in this partnership. When students are working hard to better their lives, they should not have to face the hardships of hunger and worry over food. When you’re hungry, nothing else matters.”
Needing graduate students will be able to take advantage of nutritional ingredients for meals, to supplement personal or family needs, Perry said. Stocked items are full menu selections, with no out-of-date or damaged goods on the shelves. The pantry isn’t limited to strictly food products. Hygiene items, family and household needs are also available.
Headlock On Hunger national vice-chair Beth Copeland, an Asheville resident, WCU grad student and World Wrestling Entertainment Hall of Fame member, was a catalyst for the food pantry. A conversation with a fellow graduate student about “making ends meet” and being limited when buying groceries led her to the idea for this special food pantry. “Graduate school can be tough on students and can put a major strain on their resources,” said Kevan D. Frazier, executive director of WCU’s Biltmore Park Programs. “We are especially grateful to Eblen and Ingles for supporting us in bringing the pantry to fruition. We are thrilled to be able to make the pantry available to help grad students achieve success in the classroom and at home.” For more information, contact WCU’s Center for Service Learning at 828-227-7184 or [email protected]