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Students to the rescue at short-staffed grocery stores

Students at the Schuylkill Technology Center spent their last day before Thanksgiving break lending a helping hand at grocery stores in the county.

SCHUYLKILL COUNTY, Pa. — As families scramble to Redners in Shenandoah to get the last items on their Thanksgiving grocery lists, students from both Schuylkill Technology Center campuses are volunteering to help employees and customers during one of the busiest food shopping days of the year.

"We're here to help out people who are shopping, whether it be last-minute or picking up a few extra items so they can go about their day a little easier," said Ozzie Pagan, a business and marketing student at STC.

This is just one out of 12 grocery stores throughout Schuylkill County where students with the technology center volunteered to help tackle last-minute holiday shopping crowds.

"There can be so many people in line, trying to get their stuff ready to pay and everything. It's a time-consuming process," said Logan Letherman, an electrical/mechanical student at STC.

Workers at Boyers in Tamaqua tell Newswatch 16 that the volunteers from the Schuylkill Technology Center are helping them accommodate the large holiday crowds by making up for staff shortages hurting all locations.

"Grocery stores do need help because, with COVID and everything, everyone is short-staffed," Letherman said.

"Any kind of help will help them out a lot. I know that the lines are hectic, and people are just going to be miserable this time of year. But having somebody here to help them and give them a more positive outlook," said STC student Hailey Heffelfinger.

Whether it's bagging items to make the lines go faster or rounding up carts to make sure every shopper has one, the students are helping everyone make the shopping experience less stressful.

"I can tell people are having a much easier time getting everything they need for Thanksgiving this year," Letherman added.

"It means a lot that I can help out anybody, no matter who they are. And I know it's a stressful time of the year, and just any kind of help will make someone feel better," Heffelfinger said.

The Schuylkill Technology Center give-back day is an annual Thanksgiving tradition students hope to help more grocery stores next year.

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