Sam Luptak Jr.
New Castle News
NEW CASTLE —
Food is not the only thing that sometimes is in short supply for those in need.
With that in mind, students from seven Lawrence County high schools joined Westminster College sororities and fraternities Saturday in preparing a paper pantry for local residents.
The teens – representing New Castle, Shenango, Laurel, Union, Mohawk, Ellwood City and Wilmington high schools – and the college students spent the morning collecting, counting and sorting donations of paper items and household goods and preparing them for delivery.
A series of Global Youth Service Day Projects culminated in this final effort called “Stuff the Bus.” The project was a collaboration of Lawrence County agencies, businesses and schools coming together to create the pantry, which offers items that are not accessible to those in need through food pantries. This includes such things as napkins, cleaning supplies, toothbrushes, bars of soap and sponges.
According to Javon Clark of Lawrence County Community Action Partnership, one of the event organizers, Westminster’s sororities and fraternities collected the items and delivered them to buses parked on site. The high school volunteers helped count, separate and organize the items, then placed them on the bus.
“This event is part of the Greek Week competition,” said Rachel Gibbs, the co-chair of the event from Westminster’s Student Government Association. “The winning organization will have the privilege of being named the top Greek organization of the year — an award which brings a big trophy, but more importantly, major bragging rights.”
More than 550 Westminster students from 10 sororities and fraternities took part in the project, which also supports local summer food programs and the Empty Bowls event scheduled for April 27 at St. Camillus Church.
Scott Relic, a junior from Mohawk High, was participating in his third year at the event. Last year, he organized the drive at his school. He explained that he was a part of the event because “this is a good thing for the community. It is good to give back.”
Union senior Gabby Murdoch said “I love to help other people. It is fun to help people out. I’m doing it for fun.”
She explained that she and the other volunteers were part of her school’s Careers Club, which “helps high schoolers learn about careers and get jobs,” she explained.
Senior Chris Blake, also from Union, participated because, “I wanted to make my family proud, make new friends and help my community.”
The Westminster SGA was thrilled by the participation of students and local high schools, as well as the competition among the Greek organizations.
“Greek Week is so competitive, but this event lets us all give back to our community,” Gibbs said.