The EIU Campus Food Pantry opened its doors for all students and faculty at room 1347 in the McAfee Gym on Friday, Oct. 1.
The food pantry is open for anyone who is experiencing food insecurity or may want food in general. Any students or faculty who would like to get items from the pantry may visit twice a month, and they only have to bring their Panther Card.
They offer several different food options, such as ravioli, canned vegetables and cereal. Those who get food from the pantry will receive enough food for approximately nine meals.
Beth Gillespie, who is the director of Civic Engagement and Volunteerism, talked about who can come to the pantry and how many times.
“Anybody who’s got a Panther Card, student or staff, if they’re needing helping putting food on their tables, then we’re here to support them,” Gillespie said. “Students can come twice a month, so that can be twice in one week if that works best for them. They can come the first of the month and not come again until the end of the month. Each person with a Panther Card can come two times a month to get food.”
Gillespie also said people can receive food from a wide selection of options when they come to the pantry.
“When they come, the amount of food that they’re going to get is going to provide enough food to essentially give them nine meals,” Gillespie said. “We’re hoping we can help fill the gap for roughly three days based on each visit. We have ravioli, macaroni and cheese, cereal, soups. We have a wide variety, so we provide a nutritious and balanced approach to the food that our students are getting. We will have snack stuff and occasionally some dessert food, but mostly it’s trying to provide a balanced, nutritious approach to the food.”
There are also opportunities for people to volunteer for the EIU Campus Food Pantry.
Paris Daniels, a junior psychology major, is a student worker who volunteers for the food pantry. She is responsible for jobs such as restocking, helping to give out the food and helping with inventory.
Daniels talked about what it is like to work for the food pantry.
“It’s really nice. I helped out at the Charleston Food Pantry and that was a really good experience,” Daniels said. “I’m excited about this one because I’m pretty sure it’ll be similar in duties and roles. It’ll be a fun experience.”
She also said that she felt excited about the food pantry opening for the first time.
“I’m actually really excited. Especially because it’s new and it’ll been in the middle of campus and it’s just something fun to be a part of,” Daniels said.
Another student worker is Yolanda Lejuste, a graduate student in nutrition dietetics. She said that she is happy the food pantry is available to students, especially considering how many college students face food insecurity.
“I am excited about the pantry,” Lejuste said. “The first time I heard about it was through Dr Lynch, she’s one of my professors here. I had no idea that a high percentage of students were food insecure. So, this is a really great resource for the students on campus; and even thinking back on my experience, I was trying to see if I would even fit in that category of being food insecure. Reading the signs on the wall (in the food pantry), there were times where I’d have to eat half and save the rest. I never really considered it to affect everybody, much less 40 percent.”
Ethan Schobernd can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]