By Miceal Munroe-Allsup
The opening for Lewis & Clark’s Food Pantry, while a quiet one, was exceptionally full of laughter, as students perused through the food together. The Food Pantry, located in the Multicultural Resource Center in Templeton near the ATM’s, is projected to be open on Thursdays from 4:30-7 once every few weeks. All three of the organizers are seniors who are single-handedly maintaining the space in between work and school.
The pioneers of this organization, Jennifer Anderson ’19, Cora Layman ’19 and Kate Sund ’19 became invested in providing food for LC students last fall, at the beginning of their junior year. They began thinking about how difficult it can be for students who don’t have a steady influx of money – for whatever reasons – to get enough food. Not everyone is able to provide for themselves outside of the Bon, and food insecurity is a reality for some that these three students are actively addressing.
Despite the fact that roughly 93 percent of students rely on financial aid, Layman and Anderson find that people are unaware food insecurity is an issue at a place like LC, a reaction that is likely part of the problem: a lack of education in financial diversity, which leads to an environment in which speaking of such struggles makes both parties uncomfortable. With LC’s demographics and reputation, students are often hesitant to openly discuss financial insecurities. The Food Pantry organizers feel that people are nervous to take food because there is a stigma around financial difficulties.
“We’ve gotten a lot more people expressing a desire to donate than a desire to come get it, but we really want to get rid of that stigma, because there’s really nothing shameful about wanting to get some food,” Layman said.
Donations come from other students, faculty, and staff, and considering the limited number of people who come to get food, there is much more food than there are regular or even semi-regular recipients.
“We are looking for volunteers to help run the pantry, and for volunteers who are interested in taking over this organization. We all graduate this May, but it’s important that the pantry be a resource available to students all the time,” Anderson said. “Donations are currently organized by email, but one of our aims for this year is to talk with the Bon and get a permanent bin set up by the Fields Dining Room, for people to donate or take as they please.”
Another goal of theirs is to get the word out. Most people are unaware of this organization, especially since they were only added to LC’s Organizations List for the 2018-19 school year. Still, great strides have been made already. These three students are the first to organize a food pantry for students in over a hundred years of LC’s operation, and food insecurity education is slowly being incorporated into LC’s orientations.
You can learn more about the Pantry on Facebook at LCFood, or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.