NORFOLK, Neb. – Healthy Blue Nebraska and the Northeast Community College Food Pantry are coming together to support local students at the College who may be food insecure. A recent funding commitment from Healthy Blue Nebraska will stock shelves and freezers at the student food pantry at Northeast.

The College’s food pantry is available to all students as well as those attending the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Nursing on the Norfolk campus. Research has clearly shown a direct correlation between food insecurity and overall health. There has been an increase in students at Northeast needing to stay on campus during holiday breaks, but because the campus is closed during those times, there is no food service available. The Northeast Food Pantry helps supply food packages for students in need during breaks.

“Food insecurity on campus quickly became a priority for me when I started to see the financial stress many students were in,” said Gina Krysl, director of student care and outreach/counselor. “When a student doesn’t need to worry about where their next meal is going to come from, they can focus on academics and be more successful. I am so grateful for Healthy Blue’s generosity and desire to fill up our food pantry and help our students at Northeast.”

Along with the increased need for food, Northeast students have requested paper and hygiene products, including toilet paper, feminine hygiene products, deodorant, soaps, shampoo, lotion, and toothpaste. Those needs are addressed secondarily to basic food items. In addition to Northeast, Healthy Blue Nebraska continues to work with local organizations to provide tools and resources to local community members to lead a healthy and productive lifestyle.

As part of Healthy Blue’s longstanding commitment to improving the health of communities, the organization is addressing how interconnected factors, such as food and other key drivers, shape health. Healthy Blue engages alongside organizations and other partners as a leading champion for direct community action and whole health initiatives.

Hannah Herron is one of the students who relies on the pantry.

“I just got out of a toxic work environment, so I currently don’t have a job,” Herron said. “The Northeast Food Pantry and Access Period are the only access I have right now. I just ran out of tampons, so this is going to help me a lot. Perfect timing.”

Access Period is an organization that helps distribute women’s hygiene products in the Omaha area. Healthy Blue Nebraska is one of its partners.

The Northeast Food Pantry will be the College Foundation’s focus during this year’s Norfolk Area Big Give. The Big Give, to be held May 18-23, is a time where Norfolk area supporters are invited to give back to their favorite local charities and educate themselves on other non-profits in the community.

Anyone interested in donating to the Northeast food pantry may contact [email protected] or call (402) 844-7240.