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CCAC students give back at Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank on National Day of Service

PITTSBURGH—Community College of Allegheny County students rolled up their sleeves to volunteer at the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank on September 11, 2019. Also known as Patriot Day, September 11 is a National Day of Service and Remembrance when Americans across the country are called to volunteer in their local communities in tribute to the individuals lost and injured in the attacks, first responders, and the many who have risen in service to defend freedom.

Although participation was limited to 15 students, many more expressed interest in the service opportunity. The volunteers included new and returning students of various ages, majors and campuses as well as students volunteering for the first time. Together, they spent two hours repackaging more than 60 boxes of food donations to be transferred to local pantries for distribution to individuals and families in need. 

“The turnout was wonderful,” said Rachel Bowden, CCAC Food Security AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer. Bowden, who helps to oversee the food pantries at CCAC, organized the event as an opportunity for participants to give back while getting a chance to see how the food bank benefits the community. “The students found the work very rewarding, and they enjoyed talking to the people there and learning a lot about the food bank.”  

Bowden is planning future service projects for students to help at local soup kitchens, which are well-staffed on holidays but usually lack enough volunteers on other days. She is hoping the service projects will help combat the stigma of using a food pantry among college students, an increasing number of whom suffer from food insecurity.

For this reason, she is also helping to get a new food pantry started in the coming year at CCAC’s West Hills Center, which would bring the total number of permanent food pantries at the college to six.

For more information about CCAC’s food pantries, visit

Photo: Pausing for a photo at the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank on Sept. 11, are CCAC volunteers, from the left: Alexandria Peters, AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer Kathryn Chestnut, Ty’Zachary Diggs, Esme Stasa, AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer Rachel Bowden, Chloe Nguyen, Bridget Struble, Ebony Copeland and Sierra Meyer.