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Food Lion donates $5K in gift cards to Ram Pantry

ISSUED: 1 June 2022

SHEPHERDSTOWN, WV — The grocery store Food Lion has donated $5,000 in gift cards through its charity Food Lion Feeds to Shepherd University’s Ram Pantry. Dr. Jennifer Flora, Suzanne Shipley Wellness Center director who oversees the Ram Pantry, said the gift cards will give the pantry more flexibility in how it can help students and employees.

“They can be used to help supplement the pantry, for instance to buy perishables, which is what we really need money for,” Flora said. “Or, in times like the summer when we have limited hours, we can give students gift cards to help supplement their food and basic needs.”

The donation came about after Angela Wheeler, Food Lion’s community relations and sales building specialist, northern division, saw a story in a regional newspaper during National Nutrition Month about Shepherd’s new nutrition program conducting a food drive to benefit the Ram Pantry. The story quoted a Shepherd student who works at the Shepherdstown Food Lion. Wheeler reached out to Dr. Arnetta Fletcher, assistant professor of nutrition, offering to donate to the Ram Pantry.

“At Food Lion, we truly believe that no one should have to choose between paying for rent or dinner, and we understand that students are also faced with tough decisions that can impact them financially,” Wheeler said. “Being able to help alleviate that worry and set these students up for success is important to us and one of the reasons we wanted to support the Ram Pantry.”

Flora met with Wheeler and learned that, in addition to providing gift cards, Food Lion Feeds can offer the Ram Pantry weekly food donations from a local Food Lion store because of its affiliation Mountaineer Food Bank, an organization that coordinates food donations with member agencies throughout West Virginia.

Flora is currently working with Mountaineer Food Bank to secure a local Food Lion location that is accepting additional food pantries for donations.

Flora is also interested in the opportunity for equipment donations available through the Food Lion Feeds program. She plans to apply for grants in July that will allow the Ram Pantry to receive donated equipment or money to purchase equipment.

“Donations can include anything from a computer for the pantry to crock pots, blenders, and microwaves,” Flora said. “One thing that we overlook is, yes, we can give students food, but do they have something to cook it in? This is an awesome opportunity.”

The Ram Pantry is open on Wednesdays from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. for all Shepherd students and employees. In addition to these hours, Flora said various departments on campus such as enrollment management, student affairs, residence life, and counseling services, have gift cards available to provide immediate assistance to those in need.

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