WORCESTER (CBS) — Quinsigamond Community College student Farah Mohamad had never worked at a food pantry before, but taking the opportunity to give back has made all the difference.

“We want to help each other out. It’s a community at the end of the day,” Mohamad said.

The small food pantry services a lot of people. About 100 people come every week, and around 600 come on a regular basis.

They all have one thing in common: the clients are all students at Quinsigamond Community College in Worcester.

“Most of our students are working adults, single parents struggling with life circumstances,” said Luis Pedraja, the school’s president.

The pantry is right on campus, run by fellow students like Mohamad. There is a greenhouse where they grow the produce they give away, and a room stacked with donated food.

It’s a team effort, and Pedraja knows that when it comes to a college education, support is key.

“Helping students with life is essential. A lot of college students fail because life happens to them,” he said.

Douglas resident Ingrid Murphy heard about the pantry and made it her church’s mission to help out.

“The students go through so much and have to look for food on top of everything else,” Murphy said. “I thought that was terrible. It shouldn’t be.”

The school is planning to expand the greenhouse on campus. They also have a resource center that helps the students with more than just food insecurities.

“It takes a whole community to help a student get through college,” Pedraja said.

 

Kate Merrill

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