Essential Utilities Presents $75,000 Check to WCU Resource Pantry

In survey data collected last year, approximately 40% of WCU students reported experiencing some type of basic-need insecurity, including not having enough food to eat. During this season of thanks and giving, Essential Utilities is stepping up in a big way to assist WCU students who depend upon the services provided by the University’s Resource Pantry. Chairman, President, and CEO of Essential Utilities Christopher Franklin ’87 visited the on-campus Resource Pantry on November 18 to present WCU President Chris Fiorentino with a generous gift of $75,000 from Essential Utilities to help expand the Resource Pantry’s reception and intake area. Understanding the importance of confidentiality, the generous gift will also fund the purchase of tablets that will enable student customers to initiate self-checkout of food and personal-care items in private.

Since the Resource Pantry opened its doors in 2016, demand has increased ten-fold. During the previous in-person academic year (2018-19), the Pantry served more than 800 students and recorded 5,100 total visits. During that time, it also distributed nearly 20,000 pounds of food; 16,000 personal care products; 2,600 school supplies; and more than 650 articles of clothing.

“Essential Utilities is honored to support the West Chester University Resource Pantry to minimize food and basic-need insecurities,” said Mr. Franklin, who knows firsthand about WCU students’ needs as he currently serves as a member of the University’s Council of Trustees and is a WCU alumnus. “As a company committed to providing safe and reliable access to the earth’s most vital resources, Essential recognizes that basic needs are critical to everyday life. We hope this donation will enable the Resource Pantry to help those who find themselves needing some additional support now as well as those who may one day reach out to seek assistance in the future.”

The Resource Pantry is open to all WCU students and is central to upholding the University’s mission to ensure student success and provide access to a college education, regardless of financial circumstances. Offering a supply of non-perishable food, fresh produce from campus gardens, personal care items, school supplies, and winter and career clothing, the Resource Pantry helps eliminate barriers to degree completion and empowers students to learn independent living skills and achieve long-term stability.

“West Chester University is truly grateful to Essential Utilities for supporting our students in such an impactful way,” said President Fiorentino. “This company’s actions demonstrate what it means to truly meet students where they are currently in their lives. By providing the basic resources that our students need to live as well as to excel, Essential Utilities is investing in their overall success and helping this University make a bold statement that it will work to ensure access to hardworking students no matter what their financial situations may be.”

Essential Utilities is a Diamond Sponsor of WCU’s 150th Anniversary Celebration and a continued partner in helping WCU students advance inside the classroom as well as outside the classroom. Under its former company name of Aqua America, the utility company previously gifted $50,000 to the University’s College of Business and Public Management.

About Essential Utilities
Essential is one of the largest publicly traded water, wastewater and natural gas providers in the U.S., serving approximately 5 million people across 10 states under the Aqua and Peoples brands. Essential is committed to excellence in proactive infrastructure investment, regulatory expertise, operational efficiency and environmental stewardship. The company recognizes the importance water and natural gas play in everyday life and is proud to deliver safe, reliable services that contribute to the quality of life in the communities it serves. For more information, visit

Sponsors of West Chester University’s 150th Anniversary
Celebrations throughout West Chester University’s 150th Anniversary year are made possible by the generosity of community partners. Presenting Sponsor: Aramark. Platinum Sponsors: Student Services, Inc. and West Pharmaceutical Services, Inc. Diamond Sponsors: Essential Utilities and WCU Alumni Association. Gold Sponsor: BB&T (Now Truist). Bronze Sponsors: IMS Technology Services and Meridian Bank. Purple Sponsors: Barnaby’s West Chester; Clark Associates, Inc.; First Bank; MacElree Harvey; Northwestern Mutual; PSECU; Radius Systems; SEI Investments Company; TD Bank; Univest Financial; and Visual Sound.

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