By Andrea Valdez
Photo by Chris Swann
Tyler Junior College and People Attempting to Help have partnered to work with students and bring them resources through a new PATHway to Comfort program. One of the main resources this offers is a food pantry on campus.
A volunteer from PATH as well as student volunteers on campus run the food pantry. The food pantry offers non-perishable items such as canned food, snacks, produce, and also has hygiene products. PATHway to Comfort is located by Claridge Hall on the corner of Lake Street and Baxter, and hours of operation for the food pantry are 10:30 a.m.- 2 p.m. on Wednesdays.
“Our PATH volunteer that we have there she is very well trained, she knows about a lot of resources in the community and all of PATH’s services,” PATH Operations Manager Michael Vasquez said.
PATHway to Comfort began operation on TJC’s main campus in mid-January. This program offers students a food pantry while also informing them of additional PATH resources. If students need additional resources, the PATH volunteer will redirect them to the main location. Vasquez wanted more people in the community, specifically TJC students, to know about what PATH offers.
“There have been a couple of food pantries that have been started by different groups and TJC really needed a partner that could really help with more of the things like what Michael was talking about and the additional resources that the community has and it’s a more sustainable program to do with PATH,” Director of Public Affairs and Media Relations Rebecca Sanders said.
PATH started in the early 1980s by East Texas native Gertrude Windsor, who wanted to bring people together through the power of service. By 1985, PATH opened its doors and to this day continues its mission to restore hope and to empower families in the community needing assistance.
“PATH has actually been in operation for 35 years, and we offer programs that really offer hope to some of the families seeking assistance and really just empower them, as well,” Vasquez said.
Through PATH, volunteers can provide services such as assistance with utility, prescription, dental, rent and mortgage assistance, transitional housing program, food pantry and child mentoring services. Each resource has a specific way to help that is tailored to every person. They are also working with partners in the community, such as the Salvation Army, East Texas Food Bank, 903 Help and more to provide additional services that are not offered at PATH.