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Free food for commuters

Food is available to commuters for free at Castleton Cares Inc. Photo by Matt Zitwer

Paying rent, utilities, cable and other expenses can be a lot to handle for the average college student living off campus.

But if any Castleton University commuters are struggling with their bill payments, they may not know that Castleton Cares Inc. can save them money on groceries! With the help of the Castleton Student Government Association, CCI is allowing students access to their local food shelf.

“Grocery shopping can be very expensive … It makes living off campus stressful sometimes,” said Anthony Porcelli, a commuting senior studying sports administration.

Located behind the Federated Church of Castleton, CCI gives commuters and struggling members of the community meats, vegetables and canned and packaged foods for free once a month. All commuting students have to do is live in Castleton, Bomoseen, or Hydeville, and fill out paperwork about their residency status.

“It’s for the kids off campus that are paying rent and paying different bills,” said CCI Assistant Treasurer Lois Ladd, who has been with the local food shelf for over 40 years.

Castleton Cares officials understand the great cost of living off campus and want to help make students lives better.

“If we can help meet people's needs with the food then they can save their money,” said Castleton alumni Kathleen Foley, who has been volunteering at the food shelf for over four years.

All the food is donated by local schools and churches that have annual food drives that support CCI. Members of the community also donate food at the drop off box inside the church. And every week, Ladd drives to the local market and purchases food with any money donated. Over the last few years, Ladd has seen a decrease of people taking advantage of their services.

“Years ago it was a lot busier than it is now,” said Ladd.

Jamie Nolan is a commuter who visited Castleton Cares for the first time last month.

“Students who live off campus should definitely take advantage of the food shelf,” said Nolan, a senior studying public relations.

The commuting students who have received food from CCI are very appreciative.

“They’re really passionate about helping community members in need,” Nolan said.

The food shelf is open Mondays and Fridays from 1-3 p.m.