Arcadia University launched the Knights for Nutrition Pilot Food Pantry on Monday, March 26 to provide options for students who are food insecure.
While food has been available to students who are food insecure through the support of individuals and offices around campus, and the Community and Civic Engagement Center (CCEC), the Knights for Nutrition Committee came together to provide a semi-anonymous pantry.
“Different groups were doing different things, but they were all thinking about food insecurity on campus,” said Dean of Students Andrew Goretsky. “The student groups were the catalyst to getting this started.”
The committee is comprised of student organizations Melanin in Action (MIA), Young Democratic Socialists of America at Arcadia (YDSA), and Pushing Our Women of Color to Excel in the Real-World (POWER), along with the University’s Act 101/Gateway to Success program, Central Student Affairs, and CCEC.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture defines food insecurity as a lack of food availability, leading to disrupted eating patterns. According to Feeding America, food insecurity “refers to a lack of available financial resources for food at the level of the household.” In a survey of 33,000 college students, the Wisconsin HOPE Lab found that two in three students had experienced food insecurity.
Before opening the pantry, Knights for Nutrition surveyed students to evaluate the need for it. Of the 325 students who responded, 51.6 percent said at some time they didn’t have enough food; 33.2 percent said they’ve been food insecure three or more times while at Arcadia; and 87 percent said a food pantry was needed on campus.
“It’s hard to focus on your education when you don’t know where your next meal is coming from,” said Jordan Beck ’20, co-chair of YDSA. “I think this shows how much the Arcadia community cares. We’ve gotten so many donations.”
The pantry’s temporary location is in Taylor Hall, Suite 107, and is open Mondays from 3 to 6 p.m. and Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Students using the pantry must sign in using their Arcadia ID number. In order to keep the pantry sustainable, Act 101 Program Director Angela McNeil said the sign in will be used to provide data on the use of the pantry so the committee can apply for grants in the future. The pantry’s last open day for the semester will be Monday, May 7; it will resume operation in the Fall 2018.
The next food drive for the pantry will be in the fall.