'Little Pantry' collects open door donations

State College, Centre County, Pa. - Students at Penn State are hoping to curb community hunger; with a 'Little Pantry.'

It's an open door system that comes with a list of food and seasonal necessities you can donate.

Carly Haffner, a Penn State senior, said it's an easy way to lend a helping hand.

"It's anonymous, it's free, you don't have to qualify for it, so it's really a judgment free place where people can just come and get a little help if they need it," Haffner said.

The project started last summer and Becca Lerman, who brought the concept to Central PA, said even in a residential area, hunger can be an issue.

"The homeless population isn't the only population who's in need of food. There's a lot of people who do have a place to live but might not always have something to eat," Lerman said.

The students involved also represent Greek life at Penn State.

Amidst controversies on campus over alcohol use, Ryan Gattoni, a member of Theta Chi, said fraternities and sororities have civic duties and can make a positive impact.

"I think as a Greek member, I feel like it's an obligation, it's what we learned. It's something you develop through the years of this is why you're here, you're here to help out," Gattoni said.

He said community outreach is a major part of what it means to belong to a chapter.

"This is what we need to do for our community and this is the best way that we can do it," Gattoni said.

Lerman and Hafffner agreed that bridging the gap between students and the community is important.

All it takes is a lot of heart and a 'Little Pantry.'

"This is a way for us to, while we are students, give back to the community that supports us," Haffner said.

"The power of a 'Little Pantry' is being able to be selfless with others in a quiet way and know that you are making a difference," Lerman said.

The first 'Little Pantry' will officially open Saturday at 10 a.m. at the Houserville United Methodist Church.

 A second 'Little Pantry' will be put up in Woodycrest next week. 


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