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MTEC becomes the 12th county school to embrace pantry program

MORGANTOWN — If the Pantry Plus More program had patron saints, you’d have to think Mavis Grant-Lilley and George W. Lilley, Jr. would be in the running.

The couple was on hand Thursday morning as students helped stock pantry shelves at the Monongalia County Technical Education Center.

Pantry Plus More is a program aimed at eliminating hunger in children by operating in-school pantries stocked with food, hygiene products, school supplies, and clothing. Children can access the pantries anonymously and take what they need.

MTEC represents the 12th pantry opened in Monongalia County Schools. It joins Clay-Battelle as the second high school pantry. It also joins a number of others funded by the Lilleys through Your Community Foundation’s Mavis Grant and George W. Lilley Jr. Community Enhancement Fund.

“We’ve not seen any of the pantries that have been completed. I think we’ve done three or four now,” Mavis Grant-Lilley said during a break from stocking the student-built pantry shelves.

She doesn’t hesitate when asked about the continued interest in supporting the program, “Well, because there’s a need.”

MTEC Principal Jon Pollock confirmed that assessment, explaining it’s not uncommon for the school’s faculty to purchase items or bring things from home if a need is identified.

“I love it,” Pollock said of the pantry. “This is just one of the many ways MTEC and Mon County Schools can provide for our students and make sure we’re looking out for their total needs, not just their educational and academic needs, but their overall well-being.”

Pantry Plus More President Roark Sizemore said it typically takes between $8,000 and $13,000 annually to operate a pantry, depending on the school.