Food insecurity is an issue that is currently facing millions as financial hardship has affected their ability to afford essentials. The NMU Food Pantry provides food and at-home essentials free to all NMU students, faculty, and staff. The service offers a judgment-free environment to assist the university community members that may be facing food insecurity caused by financial uncertainty. COVID-19 has exacerbated the need for food assistance for students as Michigan’s unemployment rate for June reached 14.8% according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Students in need can visit the NMU Food Pantry located on campus in 101B Gries Hall, directly above the NMU Health Center to pick up shelf-stable foods as well as personal care items. The items available at the pantry are provided through donations and support from the community. Fresh vegetables are also available from the pantry’s community garden which is now in its second year of operation.
The NMU Food Pantry began its operations in the fall of 2017 and has continued providing its services for the community since. The pantry receives all of its funding through donations to the NMU Foundation and supplemental food is provided by food drives that occur throughout the academic year. Members of the community can make monetary donations to the pantry here and physical donations can be dropped off at the Dean of Students Office.
“Throughout the years we’ve been fortunate to work closely with the Student Leader Fellowship Program and have had interns each year who each provide 100 hours of community service to the pantry,” said Haley Rhoades, Assistant Dean of Students.
To keep the community safe and abide by regulation as university buildings closed in March 2020 due to COVID-19, the pantry was able to continue operation by implementing an online order system. The food pantry was fully operational in the summer using these online orders and pickups. Now that the campus buildings have been opened again, the pantry will resume traditional shopping with new hours and limiting the number of shoppers at one time, Rhoades said.
All community members are welcome to the food pantry and its services. Although the service is available to all students, faculty, and staff, it is used almost entirely by students, said Rhoades. The new operating hours for the pantry will be shared once they have been established for the academic season.
“We want to thank the NMU and Marquette community for the outpouring of amazing support. Without the contributions, the food pantry would not be able to support so many individuals,” Rhoades said.