When Alex Shaffer became aware of the issues that many Cortland families face regarding food insecurity, the Purple Pantry was born. 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.”
Prior to COVID-19, the Purple Pantry operated out of the English Department book room. When the COVID-19 closure happened, Alex had food that was recently donated that had to get to people in need and so Alex set up a food pantry right next to the Parker Elementary School playground.
Operating out of a garage was not the original plan and this past week Alex, with the help of Mr. Zarcone and Mr. Canestaro, moved the Purple Pantry into room 228 in the high school. Food has been unpacked, sorted and moved onto shelves. Everything from Ramen Noodles to bacon can be found on the shelves of the Purple Pantry. “The sky's the limit as long as it is non-perishable” Alex says.
The official opening has not been announced and the final “grab and go” system and times haven’t been finalized but the Purple Pantry is finally where Alex envisioned it.