Student Food Pantry helps with growing food insecurity problem

December 04, 2018

The stress that today’s college students face during a semester can feel overwhelming, but imagine trying to study for tests, make in-class presentations and get to campus on-time if you don’t have enough food to eat. 

Hunger among college students is a growing problem on America’s campuses. In fact, 48% of college students qualified as food insecure in a survey conducted by The College and University Food Bank Alliance on 34 college campuses. But this national issue is starting to affect local students as well. 

“Reports have shown that food insecurity is becoming a bigger issue in Michigan,” said Todd Stowell, director of Student Activities at Schoolcraft College. “Here at Schoolcraft College, we have been proactive in providing students with a hand when it comes to this growing problem.”

That helping hand comes in the form of a Student Food Pantry on the college’s Livonia campus, where students with food insecurities can receive two bookstore bags of food twice a month from the pantry to help with their hunger issues. 

The program, which began in 2010, has seen a gradual increase in usage. 

“Students find out about the pantry from flyers we post on bulletin boards, or through our instructors and counselors, and they can fill out an intake form to provide their information and identify their need,” Stowell said. “Because food insecurity can be a sensitive issue, we also provide them with bags from our bookstore to provide them with some anonymity when they carry the food back to their car.”

Stowell said a student food pantry was also opened on the college’s Radcliff Center Campus in Garden five years ago to help with the growing food insecurity need for students in that location. 

A variety of annual fundraisers and food drives help keep the student pantries stocked, but Stowell said they are always in need of additional popular non-perishable food items, such as macaroni and cheese, peanut butter and jelly, cereal, Ramen noodles, instant oatmeal and chicken noodle soup, just to name a few.

This year a new food drive, the #WinterPantryChallenge, is asking students, faculty and staff to purchase a weekly Shopping List of popular non-perishable food items and bring them to the pantry in the Student Activities office in Lower Waterman. Everyone who makes a Shopping List donation will be entered in a drawing to win a Baby Ocelot plush and a $20 Schoolcraft College gift card. Items can be donated from Jan. 2-9, 2019.   

For more information about the #WinterPantryChallenge, visit http://www.schoolcraft.edu/winterpantrychallenge.