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Pickens Technical College’s Hospitality and Tourism program is no stranger to helping the community. Part of the draw of the program is that it puts students in the community working with real industry leaders so they’re well-prepared to enter the industry after they graduate. The capstone project for the course is a marketing cooperative learning experience at an approved site, giving students the responsibility and the experience in real logistical situations.

Hospitality and Tourism instructor Kim Reiser is also PTC’s DECA Advisor. She is constantly challenging her students and the PTC community to help people in the area and find new ways to support community organizations such as the Colfax Community Network, which operates a food bank supporting hundreds of families struggling with hunger.

Every year, the Colfax Community Network runs a food drive for the community, gathering thousands of pounds of food that many in the community rely on. This year, the Network partnered with Reiser and PTC.

Reiser said of her program’s participation:

The students in my program have asked the officers council if our program could coordinate the annual PTC Colfax Community Network food and hygiene drive because we have a few highly motivated individuals who saw a need to continue the food drive and to make it better than ever. We have distributed donation boxes, communicated to programs, faculty, and staff, and to our social media networks. This is a much-needed initiative for our community and I would like to see this annual food and hygiene continue for years to come.

Reiser says that her goal is to collect 1000 pounds of food by Spring Break. They set a goal of 300 pounds of food collected in January, February, and March. She and her organizers also set up a competition: the PTC program that donates the most food is recognized by the Hospitality and Tourism program with a coffee, tea, and cocoa bar delivered to their classroom for a day.

Reiser says that the opportunities to help others through her program help students: “It has been my experience over the years that students who volunteer early can experience the numerous ways they can help others. I provide the opportunities, and the hope is they find a cause or organization that they feel passionate about and will continue to support after graduation.”

The food drive is needed right now because it’s about this time of year that the holiday food drive collections run out in food banks. Reiser says that she and her organizers have collected about 500 pounds of food so far-on track for their goal. “More importantly though, we have seen individuals in our school make donations to the cause when they too could use a helping hand. PTC students, faculty, and staff support our community in many ways, and assisting the Colfax community network is just one way!” said Reiser.

PTC’s sponsored community events like this put students in the community and help them make connections while assisting those in need. To find out more about the Colfax Community Network, visit their Facebook page.