College starts giving free food & clothing to trans students

Food pantry volunteers
Photo: Shutterstock

Dell Thrift and Pantry at the University of Lynchburg provides a unique service to students not found at most colleges nationwide.

Located in the same Virginia city as the infamous far-right anti-LGBTQ+ Liberty University, the pantry provides free food and clothing – including chest binders – to transgender and gender nonconforming students primarily, although everyone in need is welcome.

The pantry has a fund meant explicitly for binders, and students can request one by scanning a QR code posted outside of the pantry to maximize privacy. The garment will be shipped discreetly to their residence. The binders are provided by gc2b, a trans-owned retailer specializing in gender-affirming garments. They cost approximately $50 each.

The pantry was provided a grant of $1600 to open late last year and is staffed by volunteers. The Park View Community Mission and the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank donate food monthly.

“If I didn’t have Dell Thrift… I don’t really have another option,” one student told the local newspaper. “I’ve gotten so many flannels. I’m a sucker for flannel,”

“It feels more freeing, to actually be myself, to not have to dress up in a certain way for people.”

They noted that they’ve donated a lot of their “more girly” clothing to the shop to try to help out.

The pantry has been in high demand, averaging over 130 weekly visits. Visitors have taken almost 350 pounds of clothing since September and almost 40 students used the food pantry in the first week alone.

The university bookstore provides bags to the pantry to maximize students’ privacy and make it more appealing because, as one volunteer pointed out, “Some people might not feel comfortable carrying a grocery bag if they’re taking food.”

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