Food Pantry continues to help students

Junior Grant Gunn helps stock the Feeding the Pride Food Pantry. The pantry helps students in need of food assistance.

UNA’s Feeding the Pride Food Pantry celebrates five years on campus helping students during financial hardships.

The food pantry is a food resource open to all university students. It is on the first floor of the Guillott University Center in the Student Engagement Center.

Students can come in the Student Engagement Center during office hours to receive access to the pantry. An office worker will scan the student’s Mane Card and lead them to the food pantry with no questions asked, said Assistant Director of Student Engagement Bethany Green.

“We kind of go on the honor system where if you need (the pantry), you’re going to come use it,” Green said. “Everyone’s situation is different, and it’s not our place to ask. We just want to be here for students who need (help).”

Green said students can access the pantry as many times as they need. Once they are there, workers give students a box to collect supplies they need.

The food pantry is important to helping students during difficult financial times, said sophomore Hayden Suddith.

“Students already have so much else they have to pay for, so the university having a food pantry really helps out,” Suddith said.

Green said students should not feel embarrassed to use the pantry or ask for assistance during hardships.

“We’ve all been there at some point or another,” Green said. “You don’t have to have a crisis situation to need the food pantry.”

The pantry also has all the utensils students would need for food, such as can openers and pots to cook food in.

A former student, alumna Julia Darcy, started the food pantry through the Contribution to Campus Life Scholarship, a scholarship where students present an idea to improve campus and receive the scholarship as long as they implement the program, Green said.

Darcy noticed a need for food assistance with students on campus and worked with various groups to start the pantry, Green said

Green said a lot has changed with the pantry over the five years it has been active, including location and availability to students.

The pantry was originally housed in part of the Student Government Association storage space. After the student Engagement Center relocated, it relocated to the same space.

Green said volunteers used to run the pantry because the location was away from the Student Engagement Center. However, it was only open during specific hours when volunteers were available, which made it difficult for students to access it.

Students also had to fill out a form on OrgSync before picking up pre-made bags from the food pantry. Student were only allowed to use the pantry once a week.

Green said this changed because the pantry does not have a problem with inventory.

Donations for the pantry come from campus organizations, local church groups, class projects and individual help, Green said. This includes food donations and monetary support.

Green said she is proud of the support the UNA community shows the pantry.

“This is just one example of people showing love and being kind without having any kind of recognition,” Green said.

Anyone interested in donating to the food pantry can drop food off at the Student Engagement Center during office hours.