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Concord University Opens Campus Food Pantry

By Josie Hanna
On September 30, 2017

Concord University conducted a survey during the spring 2016 semester concerning local hunger poverty. In reaction to the shocking results, the Academic Success Center (ASC) created the CU Pantry to fill the need on campus.

    The survey indicated that 43 percent of students had gone without food at least once or twice per week, with 64 percent saying if there was a campus food pantry available, they would use it. “Food pantries…have sprung up at more than 300 colleges across the country to address a problem the Agriculture Department calls ‘food insecurity’ on campus,” according to a NYTimes 2016 article “Food Pantries Address a Growing Hunger Problem at Colleges”. Sarah Beasley, Director of Retention, says, “More and more colleges and universities across the country are creating food pantries, so it is great that Concord is ahead of the curve on this initiative and need.”

    With the help of the food pantry, students who may not always have the resources or financial means to buy food will have essential items provided. Beasley states, “If a student is hungry, it is unlikely he or she is able to focus on doing what it takes to be a successful college student. Ensuring that students do not go hungry, is one additional way we can support our students at Concord.” The CU pantry is located in the Rahall atrium (next to the volleyball court). They maintain two large wooden cabinets filled with food items and smaller plastic cabinets, usually filled with toiletry items.

    Any student in need can access the pantry in the atrium 24/7 on the honor system. The atrium is unlocked, safe, and secure. As word of the CU Food Pantry spreads, more and more students are using it. Beasley states, “We encourage students to help yourself to what you need and share what you can.”

    Bonner is helping to stock the pantry this month by sponsoring a donation drive. There will be donation boxes for personal hygiene items such as soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo. They will also accept school supplies, including notebooks, pencils, and index cards, on the first and second floors of the student center, and in the Bonner House. Donations will be accepted until September 29.

    Bonner House Senior Intern, Lelia Suydam, states, “We decided to do the Concord pantry first because it had come to our attention that they were in need of items. What better way to start off our donation drives than by helping our Concord family first?”

    If students would like to donate after the Bonner drive is over, they can bring non-perishable food items, toiletry items, or school supplies for college students to the Academic Success Center, also located off the Rahall atrium, any time Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. During non-office hours, students can leave donations on top of the food pantry cabinets. Any organizations participating in this year’s homecoming competition will receive points for items donated to the food pantry. Beasley says, “It’s encouraging to see students, such as those in Bonner, SGA, University 100, fraternities and sororities and other CU student groups, come together to help their fellow students in need. Many faculty and staff and members of the Athens community also regularly donate items to pantry, some saying they remember what it was like to be a hungry college student who couldn’t afford a meal.”

    For more information on the CU Pantry, contact Sarah Beasley at sbeasley@concord.edu or call 304-384-6298. For more information on how to help Bonner with their collection project, contact Bonner’s Senior Intern Lelia Suydamn at lsuydam@mycu.concord.edu.

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