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Community Cupboard will help those in need

May 20. By Melissa Atherton. A helpful new community resource officially opens in Smithville on Monday. The Town of Cornelius Parks, Arts, Recreation & Culture (PARC) Department and the Smithville CommUNITY Coalition (SCC) will dedicate the Cornelius Community Cupboard at 5 pm in the Community Garden, 20708 Catawba Ave.

The Community Cupboard is a partnership between Woodlawn School and the town. The cupboard will be stocked with non-food hygiene essentials. The cupboard is free and open to anyone in need seven days a week from 9 am to 5 pm.

Woodlawn parent Nikki Howard, community cupboard liaison, said the program is a third-grade service project to help people who may be struggling.

“There are many people who do not ask for help because they do not want to risk their pride and want to keep their integrity and privacy,” Howard said. “This way, a family can get toothpaste and toothbrushes or other personal hygiene items without asking.”

Woodlawn third graders and their families will stock the cupboard at first. Fellow community members are welcome to “pay it forward” by stocking the cupboard with toiletries and household products.

Although Cornelius is a lakeside town known for its affluent neighborhoods, nearly 30 percent of the students at Cornelius Elementary receive free or reduced lunch. According to CMS, eligibility for the lunch program is widely used by school districts as a proxy for poverty in the student population.

The SCC was organized in 2011 by residents, area citizens, non-profits and faith-based communities. The coalition is supported by the Town of Cornelius and aims to improve the communities of Smithville, East Catawba Avenue, as well as other areas.

Anyone interested in donating to the cupboard may drop off the following items: hotel travel items, toothbrushes, toothpaste, tissues, soap, first aid items, mouthwash, dental floss, lotion, sunscreen, shampoo, chapstick, baby needs (diapers and wipes), deodorant, q-tips, paper towels, paper plates, toilet paper and feminine hygiene needs.