By Madison Brewer
Students, faculty and staff at the University of Maryland experience food insecurity every day. Even with dining services on campus, some community members still to get enough food.
That’s how the University of Maryland Campus Food Pantry was started: people saw the need for easily attainable and nutritious food items.
The UMD Campus Food Pantry has been around since 2014 and was started by Allison Lilly, the Sustainability and Wellness Coordinator for Dining Services.
The goal of the pantry is to provide food security to students and staff both on and off campus. They achieve this goal by buying and collecting donations of nonperishable food items to fill the pantry.
Aniedi Andrew, senior public health major and intern for the food pantry, explained that on Mondays, the students and faculty working for the pantry go to the Capital Area Food Bank to get the items they need to stock the pantry.
Diandrea Campbell, the Office Supervisor for the food pantry, said that the campus is very much involved: student groups like Integrated Life Sciences, Terps Against Hunger and Greek groups make semesterly and annual donations to the pantry and organize food drives.
“We do receive large amounts of donations; it varies of course, but recently we just received…maybe 3,000 cans and also other item donations from the fraternities and sororities on campus,” Campbell said
According to Campbell, the pantry’s main concern is spreading the word about the food pantry to people on campus. He said because the campus is so large, many people don’t know about the pantry. Now, it is working with student groups and putting up flyers to help get the word out.
However, Andrew says the pantry still sees a lot of students, faculty and others at the food pantry every Friday. About 60 to 90 students come to the pantry each week, and even more faculty attend. Over the few weeks, the pantry has seen those numbers grow even more, she said.
Andrew said that many of the faculty that come to the pantry are providing for families, based on the forms each person must fill out upon entering the pantry.
Some of those forms filled out by pantry users ask for items such as diapers and baby formula, but those can be hard for the pantry to get.
“We try to have items like that, it’s just harder to restock the pantry on it. So we don’t always promote that.” Andrew said.
Andrew said that she has learned a lot from her time as an intern with the campus pantry this semester.
“People are still struggling through different things, so it just kinda opened my eyes. I want to work harder to be able to work with different organizations that do work with things like this,” Andrew said.
The UMD Campus Food Pantry is open every Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Heilsa Room 0143 in the Health Center. They also have an office in the South Campus Dining Services Administration Building for people to drop off items for the pantry.
Photo courtesy of UMD Campus Pantry