Over 500 Can-Openers Donated to OCCC Food Pantry in Preparation for Thanksgiving

By Zoe Taylor

Oklahoma City Community College’s Faculty Association donated over 500 can-openers in a “Can-Opener Drive” to OCCCs Food Pantry to support students in anticipation for Thanksgiving.

Dr. Shanna Padgham, political science professor and department chair, said the Faculty Association discussed having a Clothing Drive or a Food Drive to help prepare students for the upcoming seasons.

“It turns out that our pantry is fully stocked due to gains from the Regional Food Bank. The Clothes Closet is generally doing well too,” Padgham said. 

Padgham said the group came across the idea when Laura Swain, Coordinator of Recreation and Fitness at OCCC, mentioned many students do not take the canned foods at the Food Pantry because they do not have can-openers. 

“It occurred to me that was a need we could fill,” Padgham said. 

The Faculty Association decided to have a Can Opener Drive instead of a Food Drive or Clothing Drive. 

Padgham and the Faculty Association pondered ways to generate the most donations and that friendly competition would help. 

This resulted in the Faculty Association developing a competition between the divisions based on who could bring in the most can-openers. 

The competition began on Oct. 26 and finished on Nov. 16, the week before Thanksgiving break for OCCC faculty and students.

This competition generated 584 donated can-openers. 

These can-openers will be available at the OCCC Food Pantry and Clothing Closet. 

Padgham said students “are welcome to take one if it is useful to them.”

“It is important to us that all students have access to proper nutrition, which helps students learn,” Padgham said. 

Without the means to use the abundance of donations provided by the Regional Food Bank, the donated food in OCCCs food pantry could have gone to waste without creative thinking by the Faculty Association.

“I think this speaks to the heart our faculty have for our students. Both full-time and adjunct faculty contributed,” Padgham said. 

The OCCC Food Pantry allows students with a student ID to visit the pantry once a week during their operating hours: Tuesday: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., and Thursday: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. 

The Food Pantry is located in the Science, Engineering, and Mathematics (SEM) Building, Room 1N1. 

The OCCC Clothes Closet is another place for students to access donations. 

The Clothes Closet, located in the Social Science Center at 1H12. The closet is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.. 

According to the OCCC website, the food pantry currently accepts monetary donations and nonperishable food items. 

Donors can drop off these donations at any Enrollment/Student Services Office (i.e., Academic Advising, Admissions, Records, Recreation and Fitness, Student Life, Student Support Services, VPESS). 

For monetary donations, you can donate directly to the Oklahoma City Community College Foundation.

For more details on the Oklahoma City Community College Food Pantry and Clothes Closet, visit https://www.occc.edu/clothes-closet/ and https://www.occc.edu/hunger/.

Dr. Shanna Padgham