By Courtland St. Paul
Emily Perniciaro and Emi Brown are involved in Grove Grocery, a group of volunteers that serves students and employees of the Ole Miss campus. This experience has given them the opportunity to take part in a club that works hands-on to help others in need.
Perniciaro and Brown are both on committees for Grove Grocery. Perniciaro serves as a member of the Nutrition Committee, and Brown serves as a member of the Community Outreach Committee.
According to the Ole Miss website, “Grove Grocery seeks to end campus hunger and alleviate poverty by discreetly providing nutritious food products and hygiene products free of charge to students and employees in the Ole Miss community.
“Our pantry has a wide array of options including frozen food, popular snacks, hygiene products, spices, and more. But we strive to be more than just a pantry. In addition to our fully stocked pantry, we offer meal swipes, Grab-N-Go bags, and can fill grocery orders for you.”
“The UM Food Pantry (recently renamed Grove Grocery) was established in 2013 to help alleviate food insecurity among the University of Mississippi students and employees on campus. The Food Pantry is operated by a student committee with the help of student volunteers.”
Perniciaro’s main task as a member of the Nutrition Committee consists of preparing Grab-N-Go bags that are filled with non-perishable ingredients to prepare a meal at home for those who might need it.
“Grove Grocery joins with different businesses and organizations on campus in order to reach students to help us raise money to keep the shelter running successfully,” Perniciaro said. “These proceeds go to anyone in the Oxford community who is in need of food items.”
The Community Outreach Committee, said Brown, does “anything from communicating with the Oxford Community and the Ole Miss Campus, delivering orders and picking up food.”
Grove Grocery has impacted Perniciaro’s life because, he said, “I have been able to help others and meet people that have the same passion that I do. We all work together to make an impact on each other and the Oxford-University community.”
According to Brown, “I think a lot of the impact isn’t necessarily seen by most people, but it really does make a huge impact on some people’s lives. I am so glad that we get to help those that maybe wouldn’t have healthy options otherwise.”
Over winter break, the members will be writing letters to alumni who donate to Grove Grocery in order to keep the pantry running while school is not in session. Grove Grocery runs primarily on donations.
Said Brown: “We will also continue to provide services within the pantry including our newest project, partnering with Oxford Community Market, in order to get fresh produce for the pantry that is free to all students and faculty.”