Alabama A&M student starts a food pantry to help classmates in his dorm – Video


An Alabama A&M full-time student, Justin Franks started a mission to help his classmates in need. He started a donation-based food pantry in his dorm and help needy classmates.
He is a desk assistant at the Foster Complex on the campus and a fast-food restaurant manager as well. Even with all this, he could find time to help his classmates in need.

Franks said, “I noticed that there were some students that said they were going to bed hungry. So, I thought about it and said, ‘What can I give back to my community?”

He noticed that a group of students were always hungry. So, he decided to help them and only with $40 in hand he started a food pantry. He said to ABC News in an interview, “They didn’t have any food. The cafeteria here closes pretty early and a lot of students here don’t have money to go outside the campus to eat.

I wanted to cater to such students.” Franks said, “I started with pretty much just noodles and Capri Suns and I had a few household products like tissue and water.” Soon that small stash started getting multiplied.

When he posted this on his social media account, he got a lot of responses. It got shared about 600-700 times and goes viral on the internet. He didn’t expect that he would get so much support and share. Franks said, “It got a lot of response,” describes Franks. “It got shared 600-700 times and so it got around the internet. I didn’t think it would get shared that much, but people really cared about our students and Alabama A&M University.”

After this, he received a lot of donations from different community groups, alumni and faculty. What News 19 noticed them as well. Now he is running a full-on food pantry in Huntsville and has all kinds of snacks and drinks. The pantry made by Franks is always packed with items such as oatmeal, cereal, chips, granola bars and soup. They also keep toiletries and personal hygiene items. The pantry opens from 6 pm to 11 pm, when the cafeteria closes. Franks showed WHNT News 19 around the pantry and said, “We have Capri Suns, drinks, juices and water, we have crackers and cookies.”

He explains, “To me, it just makes me feel like I’m blessing someone. I’m a religious person and I feel like I can bless a student. Some nights, students will be like ‘Man, I really appreciate this because I didn’t have anything to eat.” So far, Franks has helped approximately 100 students.

Now the students were able to get 3 items twice a week. Franks is also training other people to take over the pantry after he graduated from the University. He said, “Service is Sovereignty is our school’s motto and I want to live up to that. I hope that we can keep expanding the pantry and that it will continue for the years to come”.