Campus Kitchen introduces pop-up food pantry

Students donate to the pop-up food pantry located in the Student Multicultural Center on Nov. 13, 2019.

The Campus Kitchen found more ways for students to access its resources with pop-up food pantries. The Campus Kitchen Pantry currently hosts two food pantries weekly, on the second floor in Beall and McDowell Halls. 

The pantries are open Mondays from 4:30-5:30 p.m. and Fridays from 2:00-3:00 p.m. Though these pantries are open to faculty, students, staff and community members, they are in a set location at a set time. People who cannot make it to the food pantries at these times lose the opportunity to get a free meal. 

The new pop-up pantry initiative was created to help solve this issue.

Director of Community Engagement Learning Amanda Woodyard said the hope with the pop-up pantry is to raise awareness about food insecurity and what resources are available. They aim to do this by offering the pop-up food pantries as well as the Campus Kitchen Pantry.

“We’re trying to meet students where they’re at and where they feel more comfortable,” Woodyard said. “To remove the stigma attached to seeking out food resources.”

Woodyard said participants at the event would be able to grocery shop and take supplemental groceries.

Emery Olama, senior chemistry pre-med major, is a student leader with the campus kitchen pantry. Olama was the primary leader of the first pop-up pantry in the Student Multicultural Center.

Olama said the pop-up pantry initiative is primarily an initiative to get more students to use the campus kitchen resources.

“This is the first time we did a pop-up pantry in a different location,” he said. “Not everyone knows about the Campus Kitchen and we know from data on this campus that food insecurity is an issue.”

Olama said faculty being more aware of the resources could help the new Campus Kitchen initiative.

“I need the faculty to know,” he said. “When you know meal plans are looking really scarce. I need them to promote this resource.”

Grace Tonkovich, sophomore nursing major, volunteered with the Campus Kitchen for its first pop-up food pantry. Tonkovich said she thinks the first pop-up pantry went well and achieved its main goal of giving the food to people.

“Food is a basic need; you shouldn’t have to struggle to get food,” Tonkovich said. “Students can come here and get food. They don’t have to worry about going to the store or worry about having money to buy food. This allows them to focus on school.”

The Beverly J. Warren Student Recreation and Wellness Center is currently accepting monetary and food donations for the Campus Kitchen Monday through Friday until Dec. 6. 

Contact Celetre Jones at [email protected].