LINCOLN, R.I (WPRI) — Leaders at the Community College of Rhode Island hope a new food pantry will help students to keep pursuing higher education.

At a ribbon cutting for the food pantry at the Flanagan Campus in Lincoln Monday, one student shared her story about how it’s already helped her.

“Last month, my mom learned her job was ending, and I contemplated leaving school to get a job to help her out,” Leyshell Williams, a CCRI computer science major said.

Williams said she reconsidered after the food pantry opened, giving her one less thing to worry about financially.

“The food pantry showed up at a time that could be considered divine intervention for me and my family.”

CCRI President Meghan Hughes cited studies from the Wisconsin HOPE Lab, claiming one in four community college students is food insecure.

“Rent or groceries? Books or breakfast? Clothes for your child, or a healthy meal for yourself? While no one should have to make these choices, many of our students make these choices every single day. We are here to change that,” Hughes said. “We are here today to launch the official opening of CCRI’s food pantry here on the Flanagan Campus.”

Open to all enrolled CCRI students, the food pantry will offer non-perishable food items, plus some household and personal hygiene products. Staff and student volunteers will operate the food pantry five days a week, with weekly deliveries to each campus.

Hughes said there is no requirement to show need and no need to explain why someone needs assistance.

Hughes said the opening of the pantry was made possible by donors Amica CEO Bob DiMuccio and his wife Rena, and BlueCross BlueShield of RI CEO Kim Keck and her husband Phil. Donations by Bob DiMuccio and Kim Keck were personal, not corporate.