People need to come together, and even if you don’t live on campus, the campus is your extended family. We’re all here to help each other.
Social work major Dawn Maden, ’22, knows well the struggles associated with food insecurity.
“Going to school, working part time and taking care of my kids, sometimes I’ve struggled to put food on my own table,” she said.
She is now in a position to help feed others.
Maden was recently hired as an intern to oversee the updated BSU Food Pantry located on the ground floor of the Rondileau Student Union.
Her duties include checking inventory, restocking shelves, sorting through donations, and helping to provide resources to students.
“People on campus need to be aware that the pantry is available, that it’s OK to seek help and admit you need help with food,” Dawn said. “There is no stigma, no shame in it. Everyone needs help occasionally.”
On college campuses across the country hunger and food insecurity are all too real. BSU is no exception. Fortunately, for many years the university has been home to a food pantry. It offers a variety of non-perishable food items, personal hygiene products, and, when in season, fresh produce from the campus’ permaculture garden. It operates on a self-service system. Students can visit the pantry whenever the RSU is open.
Another option to receive food is through the pantry pickup program, where students fill out an online form.
Selected items are then packaged and made ready for pick-up at students’ convenience.
All services are offered anonymously.
You also don’t have to live on campus to use the pantry. Over the summer there was a noticeable increase in commuter students, particularly those who have children that relied on the pantry to make ends meet.
“We have many students who are parents and are trying to further their education, doing internships, and working who don’t have time for another job,” said Erin Hennessy, administrative assistant for the student engagement center. “They need to supplement their income and the food pantry is a huge help.”
No matter what the situation is, it’s important that those experiencing food insecurities have access to food, said Eileen Estudante, director of student outreach and special programs.
“Students who struggle to eat, also struggle to focus, perform academically, and complete their journey to graduation,” she said. “We want our students to have their basic needs met, that includes not being hungry.”
The BSU Food Pantry is overseen by the Division of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management with guidance from the BSU Food Pantry Advisory Board, which is made up of faculty, staff and students.
Bears Who Care, a student-run club on campus, is also involved. The club’s founding name was Feed the Bears, its sole purpose was to help run the food pantry.
“It makes sense that we would return to our roots and continue to apply our creativity toward enhancing and expanding the BSU Food Pantry and its reach, in the hopes of aiding our food-insecure peers,” said Bears Who Care President Emilie LaPointe.
Members of the BSU community looking to support the BSU Food Pantry can do so through both monetary and food donations. Nonperishable items can be dropped off at the pantry’s information desk located in the RSU.
Also accepted are personal (unopened) items such as small soaps, deodorant, toothpaste and feminine hygiene products.
For more information or questions about the Food Pantry call 508-531-1276 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Sometimes it’s embarrassing to admit you need help, but it’s okay to say I need help,” Dawn said. “People need to come together, and even if you don’t live on campus, the campus is your extended family. We’re all here to help each other.”
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