In North Carolina’s Duplin County, where 20 percent of the residents experience food insecurity, “food deserts” are common. Many people have to drive more than 20 miles to get to the nearest grocery store. It’s a struggle particularly for those without transportation.
Hurricane Florence, which hit the area in September 2018, has increased that struggle. The need for fresh food and pantry items has risen at James Sprunt Community College (JSCC), where many at the college are still displaced following the hurricane.
To help students, each month the college distributes food through its Spartan’s Table. In February, the college hosted a resource fair and distributed pallets of food to students, staff and faculty. The college’s grant-funded Single Stop office worked in partnership with the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina on the food distribution.
The resource fair also showcased various community resources available to JSCC students, faculty and staff.
JSCC’s Single Stop office has helped more than 400 students since the program began in May 2016. According to the website, “Single Stop is an aid in helping students empower themselves by receiving an education, preparing for their careers and becoming successful in the workforce, thus raising their standard of living.”
Besides food distribution, the office connects students with other benefits, such as Medicaid and SNAP. It has assisted students with finding housing and childcare. The office also has established free transportation for students throughout the county. Tax preparation assistance is being offered through Single Stop, and in December, the office distributed school supplies (donated by Pitt Community College) for those impacted by Hurricane Florence.
Funding for Single Stop comes through the North Carolina office of Single Stop USA. The Belk Endowment provided a grant to start Single Stop in the state in 2015.