12 stories of Christmas, Day 5

12 stories of Christmas, Day 5

CHAMPAIGN — Described by colleagues as a tireless employee who is not one to tout all of her good deeds, Sue Schreiber arrives at Parkland College before her work day begins.

By 7 a.m. on the second Wednesday of the month, she has unlocked and opened the college's food pantry for financially struggling students, who may find themselves having to choose between buying textbooks or groceries.

"Sue is a very kind, generous soul. She's modest, humble and always willing to step up to the plate," said Marietta Turner, Parkland's dean of students.

Schreiber has volunteered with the Wesley Food Pantry since it was launched by Wesley United Methodist Church in 2006. She helps people move through the line and find the food they need to prepare healthy meals.

"When Wesley opened the branch here, I was thrilled to be able to help out with that," Schreiber said.

The Wesley Food Pantry's Parkland branch opened about a year ago. Parkland colleagues organized the pantry after learning Turner would often keep cans of soup in her desk drawer for hungry students.

Housed in former art studio space in the "S" building on the south end of campus, the pantry stocks a variety of food, mostly from the Eastern Illinois Foodbank. It's open from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the second Wednesday of the month.

"Sue has been one of the tireless workers and supporters of the pantry since we opened it," Turner said. "She's so willing to give of her time to help the pantry get established."

Schreiber grew up in the Chicago suburbs, graduated from Bradley University in Peoria and moved to Champaign in 1990, when her husband enrolled in the University of Illinois.

She's held three different positions at Parkland — helping in the public relations office, writing grants, and most recently she has been the operations assistant in the Center for Academic Success.

"I love this job. I love working with students," she said.

The center provides a place for students to study in quiet rooms, a writing lab with faculty who help with writing projects, peer tutoring and more. This summer, she started scheduling student orientations.

On pantry days, she hangs up a sign in the center letting students know it's open.

"We knew we had a need, but we did not know how big," Turner said. "Many students work, have families, and this is something we thought could be one less stressor for them, if they know they could come and shop and not have to worry."

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