Food insecurity can be found anywhere—even on a college campus. As the new academic year begins, Adelphi University has opened the Panther Pantry, a vital step to help members of our community dealing with food insecurity.
Food insecurity can be found anywhere—even on a college campus. As the new academic year begins, Adelphi University has opened the Panther Pantry, a vital step to help members of our community dealing with that issue.
“Students at high risk include first-generation students, international students, DACA students and athletes,” said Della Hudson, associate dean of student affairs.
Jeff Kessler, assistant vice president and dean of student affairs, said Adelphi’s Student Experience Survey posed this question: “During the past 12 months, have you had problems with having enough food for yourself or your family?” Just over 4 percent of undergraduates and 3 percent of graduate students replied yes. Of those, 70 percent of undergrads and 57 percent of grads said they would consider utilizing a food pantry on the Garden City campus.
To address this need, the University’s Panther Pantry Committee was formed. Under the direction of Della Hudson, the committee formulated a plan, found space in Residence Hall A and teamed up with the Office of Information Technology, which developed an efficient and welcoming behind-the-scenes system.
On September 5, 2018, President Christine M. Riordan joined Kessler, Adelphi Interfaith Center chaplains, the pantry’s student volunteers and other members of the Adelphi community for a ribbon-cutting ceremony and official opening of the Panther Pantry.
Because it’s hard to succeed on an empty stomach
In her remarks, Dr. Riordan noted that at heart the project is aimed at supporting student success. “Some students in college go hungry—they can go an entire day without eating. College is hard enough: It’s a transition. You’re moving on to adulthood in many cases, and what you don’t want … is some of the basic needs not being met.”
The Panther Pantry is open to all members of the Adelphi community. There are no questions asked and no terms of eligibility that must be met. “We are here to help,” Hudson said. The pantry operates on an honor system.
A virtual menu and a physical location
The pantry, staffed by volunteers, will be open on Tuesdays, 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., and Wednesdays, 2:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Individuals can meet with volunteers and University chaplains and can select the items they need.
Users who do not wish to visit the physical location have another option: They can choose items online from a virtual menu.
“It’s not your typical food pantry,” Dr. Riordan said. “Sometimes people don’t want to come in and say that they don’t have enough to eat, and we don’t want members of our community feeling any sort of stigma. So our team put together a virtual food pantry, where individuals can go online, put in an order and have food delivered.” Packages can be picked up in the mail room in Post Hall.
Confidentiality of pantry users is maintained. Information gathered will be used only to determine which items and amounts to stock and to gain knowledge of the population served, whether student, faculty or staff.
“In some pantries, everyone gets the same prepacked basket of items,” Hudson said. “So people might be getting food they don’t want. Our system is much more personalized—people can request in person the items they want or choose them online and volunteers will box the items for pickup at Post Hall.”
Adelphi’s Office of Information Technology staff developed the online ordering system. Similar to Amazon, it allows for users to select, order and receive items, and for pantry volunteers to scan items and keep track of inventory. Users simply go to eCampus and select the Pantry icon.
How you can help
- Donate. In lieu of food items, please donate in the form of cash or checks, made payable to Adelphi University and with “Panther Pantry” written as a memo, and delivered to Della Hudson in the Division of Student Affairs, Nexus Building, Room 303. Employees can also donate by making a charitable gift by payroll deduction. Simply fill out this form and email to firstname.lastname@example.org or send it through interoffice mail to the Office of University Advancement, Nexus Building, Room 308.
- Volunteer. The pantry relies on volunteers to interact with pantry users, distribute food, shelve items and manage other such tasks. If you’re interested in helping out, contact the Division of Student Affairs at 516.877.3660 or email@example.com.
- Get the word out. As Rabbi Glenn Jacob, D.D., one of the chaplains with Adelphi’s Interfaith Center, told students at the event, “Tell people we have a pantry for those who are food insecure and that they can find it online. Help us spread the word.”
For further information, please contact:
Strategic Communications Director
p – 516.237.8634
e – firstname.lastname@example.org