(NEW YORK) — A student at Alabama A&M University has started a donation-based food pantry in his dorm to help feed fellow classmates in need.
Justin Franks had been working a shift as a desk assistant at his dorm in September when he said he noticed “a group of students had always been going to bed hungry.”
“They didn’t have any food,” Franks, 20, told ABC News today. “The cafeteria here closes pretty early, and a lot of students here don’t have the money to go outside of campus to eat. I wanted to cater to those students.”
Using $40 of his own money, Franks bought packages of instant noodles and Capri Sun juice drinks. That small stash of food has since exponentially multiplied.
“After I posted about it on Facebook, it just exploded from there,” he said. “We started getting donations from so many people: sororities, alumni and others in the community.”
Franks said he is now running a full-on food pantry in an old mail room of his dorm in Huntsville. It’s complete with all kinds of snacks and drinks and even personal hygiene products
The pantry is open from 6 p.m., when the cafeteria closes, until 11 p.m., according to Franks.
“A lot of students are busy and might not have time to get to the cafeteria before it closes, but it’s important they still get to eat,” Franks said.
Many students “have come up to me and said how very grateful and appreciative they were for what I’ve started since they’re financially unable to eat out,” he added.
And though Franks is a full-time student who also works three part-time jobs, he said he will continue to always make time to help others.
“‘Service Is Sovereignty’ is our school’s motto and I want to live up to that,” he said. “I’m hoping that we can keep expanding the pantry and that it’ll continue for years to come.”
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