BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — Baton Rouge Community College (BRCC) held the grand opening for it’s new on-campus food pantry, The Store.

Dr. Willie E. Smith, BRCC’s Chancellor, Mike Manning, CEO and President of the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank, and Dr. Christy Valentine-Theard, CEO of Healthy Blue Louisiana participated in the ribbon-cutting for the opening of the food pantry.

“We are grateful for the partnership and investment in our students by the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank and Healthy Blue Louisiana,” said BRCC Chancellor Dr. Willie E. Smith. “Hunger remains a fundamental barrier to education access and completion for a significant number of students. The timing for the opening of our food pantry is a tremendous step forward in meeting the needs of many of our students. With the rising costs of food and other inflation increases, it is comforting to know that The Store can assist our students and the campus community with lending a helping hand in their time of need.”

BRCC’s Student Government Association surveyed students to see what they would implement on campus. It was created to ensure students have access to essential resources to meet their basic necessities so their focus can remain on success.

“We are excited to partner with BRCC to expand our efforts to address food insecurity on community college and university campuses,” said Mike Manning, President and CEO of the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank.  “The Store at BRCC will bring much needed food assistance to the campus community and the BRCC family.”

“Healthy Blue is more than just a health insurance plan,” said Dr. Christy Valentine Theard, President of Healthy Blue Louisiana. “We are a trusted community partner who has made good on its promise to work with community organizations and come up with innovative solutions that address critical issues, such as food insecurity.”

The Store was made possible through the partnerships with the BRCC Student Government Association, Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank, and Healthy Blue Louisiana and was funded by the United States Department of Education Higher Education Emergency Relief (HEERF).