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College Hill churches work together against food insecurity

PULLMAN, Wash. (Murrow News 8) – Father Steve Dublinski just wanted to meet his neighbors.

“I was shocked at the level of poverty among the students,” Fr. Dublinski said. “Some of them had no furniture in their apartment.”

What started as a ‘welcome back to campus,’ quickly turned into a larger discussion.

According to Feeding America, food insecurity has increased by 20 percent since 2019 – and the impact was right there on College Hill.

“It set off alarm bells,” Fr. Dublinski said.

Fr. Dublinski’s Parish, Sacred Heart Catholic Church, collects food for the Community Action Center Food Bank; however, student’s need transportation to get there.

“If you don’t have food, you probably don’t have a car,” Fr. Dublinski said.

One of Sacred Heart’s parishioners, Timothy Paulitz, has been spent a long time working to fight food insecurity. He formed a partnership with the CAC and teamed up with the United Church of Christ just a block away on Campus Street.

“I thought this would be a great place to do it on College Hill,” Paulitz said. “It turns out the church has a door on the side of the church where they put packages. That was a great place to put food inside a heated area.”

Tim picks up food once a month from the CAC and drops it off at the United Church of Christ. UCC Member Suzanne organizes and stocks the pantry.

“The CAC provides this service and we’re just extending their reach into the College Hill community,” UCC Member Suzanne Kopan Sakwa said.

The pantry is compete anonymous and open 24/7.

“What people don’t realize is that if you’re really short on funds you’ll try to pay rent. You’ll try to pay the gas. You’ll try to pay the bills. But food goes off to the bottom,” Paulitz said.

UCC is hoping to keep the pantry long term and make it a permanent part of the church according to Kopan Sakwa.

“I would have never known if I didn’t go knock on their door,” Dublinski said. “Pullman thrives because of WSU. We want to be there and help the students.”

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