CHAMPION, Ohio (WKBN) — The Student Success Committee is working to re-launch the food pantry at Trumbull Career and Technical Center after school leaders say they’ve noticed an increased need.

Math instructor and Student Success Committee co-chair Dawn Haught said TCTC’s Care Closet will provide both hygiene products and food to students in need.

“We decided to start slow and start with our toiletry items. We noticed our students had a need for those items,” Haught said.

The pantry had closed before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, the school is looking at the space that used to be the school clinic.

“We hope maybe to put some shelves in, so that it feels almost like a store,” Haught said.

School officials said they started noticing an increase in the need for food, especially after a federal program that provided free breakfast and lunch to students during the pandemic ended at the beginning of the school year.

“Everyone was just getting the same amount of food every day,” said school nurse Brianna Le-Mon. “Now that that’s taken away we just noticed that students are coming into the clinic especially with the same kind of symptoms.”

Le-Mon said that for many students, the common denominator was not eating breakfast, leading to the idea of reopening the pantry. She reached out to the Trumbull County Combined Health District for assistance.

“We are happy to collaborate with other agencies in Trumbull County, and we’re happy to assist with TCTC on reopening the food pantry,” said Jennifer Francis, specialist coordinator with the health district’s family support program.

“It’s absolutely vital — a student can’t learn if they’re not well-fed, they cannot concentrate if they’re not meeting those basic needs,” said Le-Mon.

“If they feel good about their personal hygiene, I think that’s successful in a job interview, in just their general life — the way they feel, their confidence — which then helps them in the classroom,” said Haught.

Those interested in helping with the pantry’s relaunch with supply donations can contact the following:

  • Morgan Cretella: 330-847-0503 ext. 1062
  • Stephanie Marin: 330-847-0503 ext. 1035