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CHS Student Continues to Run Purple Pantry

11th grade student Alex Shaffer has long been aware of the issues that many Cortland families face regarding food insecurity. “My mom is the executive chef at Guthrie hospital and she always told me that a quarter of families in Cortland County struggle with food insecurity. Knowing that number was so high, I came up with a plan two years ago to expand the Cortland High School Purple Pantry.” 

The Purple Pantry is normally run out of the English Department book room and it is meant to target students at Cortland High School. Alex explained, “I saw a need because we have a backpack program for students at the K-6 level. So if high school students had a younger sibling they would get a backpack of food on the weekends. But if the high school student did not have a younger sibling, then the Purple Pantry could fill that need.” 

Purple PantryThe first food drive for the purple pantry was back in March. When the COVID-19 closure happened, Alex had food that was recently donated that they knew they had to get to people in need. Alex decided to set up a food pantry right next to the Parker Elementary School playground and has been there from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. each day and will continue until donations run out.

Alex said, “I am currently in the process of getting a sponsorship from Catholic Charities and the Food Bank of CNY. There is paperwork and logistics that I have been completing. In the meantime, the United Way, Cornell Orchards, and SUNY Cortland gave me donations. I am thankful I get to help families during this difficult time as right now we are all looking to do something to help in any way we can. Donations for the Purple Pantry can be dropped off to me at 36 Woodruff St., Cortland.” 

The District would like to thank Alex for all of the support regarding the CHS Purple Pantry! 


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Mr. Michael J. Hoose, Superintendent

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