Recent initiatives begun by the Department of Student Affairs and the Department of Academic Affairs have led to the creation of an on campus student food pantry. The food pantry stands to serve a growing number of students facing chronic hunger.
“There has been a growing demand of the student body in need of food…both graduates and undergraduates,” said Sean Langley, one of the university officials who helped start the program.
According to Langley, the problem started with an increasing number of undergraduate students living off campus who did not have regular access to nutritious food. After a while, organizers noticed this need also went to include a number of graduate students struggling to live on stipends.
To obtain food from the pantry, students must visit the pantry in Colvard 3135 and fill out a food intake form. This short form asks students to provide information about their food assistance needs and they then sign a food insecurity pledge.
“This insures that those who use the services really do need the services,” said Kim Buch, associate professor of psychology and one of the organizers of the pantry.
“The food pantry has three very specific goals,” said Buch. “To serve UNC Charlotte students with food insecurity, to help educate and raise awareness among the campus community about issues of food insecurity and to provide on campus service learning opportunities for UNC Charlotte students.”
Another aim of the food pantry is for it to be a program completely ran by students. Many of the students who use the services of the food pantry also volunteer to work in the pantry.
The pantry relies upon community sponsors to keep itself running. Food Lion and Chartwells on campus are two of the current sponsors, and the list is expected to keep growing. Around half a dozen student organizations are also partnering up as they plan canned food drives in the near future to support the food pantry.
The pantry is open on Mondays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., excluding university holidays. Information regarding volunteering can be found on the university’s Orgsync site by searching keywords “volunteer outreach”. For more information on the pantry program, contact Sean Langley at firstname.lastname@example.org.