ASNMU to open volunteer and donation-based pantry

Photo+by+Lindsey+Eaton

Photo by Lindsey Eaton

Noah Hausmann

The NMU Food Pantry, an ASNMU-led initiative to feed hungry members of the campus community, will soon be open, and food donations to stock the shelves are sought.

The pantry, manned by volunteers, will offer non-perishable foods as well as hygiene supplies like shampoo and feminine products. Beginning Nov. 15, the pantry will open from 4 to 7 p.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays in Gries Hall room 101B.

Food from the pantry will be available to NMU students, faculty and staff. People will be able to pick up food there and also drop off food donations.

“Emergency meals” will also be available at Public Safety, and Dining Services is looking into the possibility of making meal swipes available to people in need as well, ASNMU Vice President Connor Loftus said.

“Our goal is to make sure that nobody that’s a part of the campus community goes away hungry at the end of the day,” said Loftus, a senior fisheries and wildlife management major, who has been involved in the planning committee since the project’s start over a
year ago.

“It’s exciting, and everybody on the committee is super stoked about this,” he added. “We’re looking forward to getting it open so students can start using it.”

The pantry will rely on charity, with no university funding, he said. The NMU Foundation has opened an account for the pantry, so that donors to Northern can contribute directly to the project.

“It’s completely donation-based,” Loftus explained. “It’s by the campus community, for the campus community.”

Last semester, ASNMU sent out a campus-wide survey to help determine the level of food insecurity on campus. In the survey results, 61 percent of people said they know NMU students or employees who have skipped meals due to finances.

Almost 40 percent said they have been hungry but did not eat because they could not afford food while at NMU, and nearly 45 percent said they have experienced financial circumstances that took priority over buying necessary food.

Donations can be dropped off at upcoming food drive events, like the Nov. 28 National Day of Giving in Jamrich Hall. “Food 4 Fines” is a Public Safety program designed to reduce people’s parking fines in exchange for food donations. The event will go from Nov. 8 to 16.

“It’s a way for us to give back,” Parking Services Coordinator Patti Rizzio said.