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“The Food Pantry Steering Committee had the idea to start a food pantry last spring. Student leaders from clubs such as Young Democratic Socialists of America (YDSA), POWER, and Melanin in Action met with a few faculty members who were the liaisons for gathering resources and finding space for the food pantry. We did some surveys evaluating food insecurity on campus, and found that 33.2 percent of students had experienced food insecurity three or more times, which was a higher amount than we had imagined. 87 percent of students surveyed stated that a food pantry was needed on campus. We were able to get it running this fall, and it has only grown from there.
The biggest challenge is sustaining donations. We hosted a food drive throughout November, but we need donations to keep coming in. We are really lucky now to be partnering with Metz, Arcadia’s dining service. They have money in their budget that they can allocate toward the food pantry. They provide the pantry with staple items, like canned soup and pasta. But apart from that, most of our inventory runs on donations, which can be pretty hard to sustain when there isn’t a food drive going on.
Being a part of the food pantry is rewarding work. It makes me feel like I’m part of a community, because it shows that we are interested in taking care of students at Arcadia and committed to making sure that they don’t go hungry, and that they are capable of putting their best foot forward toward their education.”