Beginning as a way to combat food insecurity in the community, the New College Food Pantry (NCFP) opened in January 2018. The NCFP provides both nonperishable foods, fruits, vegetables and pet food at no cost to any student, faculty or staff member. The pantry is open 24/7 and is located in X-3150, which can be accessed by swiping an encoded New College ID card. People needing food can simply go in, take what they need and complete an anonymous sign-out sheet. Recent changes include a new AmeriCorps VISTA Volunteer, Sarah Lapton, who oversees the pantry and adding pet food.
As more students parade their dogs around campus, Lapton and the food pantry Teaching Assistant, thesis student Cassidy Heaton, noticed that there is not only a need on campus for people food, but for pet food too. Partnering with the Humane Society of Manatee County, the pantry is now providing various pet foods.
“Right now, we offer canned and dry versions of dog and cat foods,” Heaton wrote in an email interview. “We have several different brands and dietary options to choose from. We also have a few other items, such as supplements, calming collars and pet wipes, but those options are a little more dependent on what the Humane Society and what others are donating.”
The pantry is working hard to provide fresh fruits, vegetables and other perishable items this year. Emails will be sent out to the community so students, faculty and staff will be able to take the fruits and vegetables before they go bad.
For students with dietary restrictions, food in the pantry is labeled as vegan, vegetarian and gluten free. They are coded by colored stickers and color-coded keys are hung up around the pantry to allow students to easily find the food they are looking for.
With additional food options on campus, the food pantry allows students, faculty and staff to feel more at ease about their nutritional intake.
“Being a college student is tough,” Heaton said. “We’re often not financially secure, and it’s very challenging to access grocery stores without a car. Even then, many students don’t have access to a kitchen to cook. Metz and Boar’s Head are wonderful options, but meal points can run out quickly, and their limited hours make them challenging to rely on for everything.”
According to a study produced by the Hope Center For College, Community and Justice in April 2019, it is estimated that 48% of community college students and 41% of four-year university students who responded to the center’s survey are food insecure. The sign-out sheet in the pantry shows what students are most in need of. If there is a food that students would like more of, they can write it in the comments section of the checkout sheet or email Lapton or Heaton directly.
Students looking to volunteer are welcomed. Volunteer forms are located on the back table of the NCFP, where students can fill out their contact information, desired work, availability and any interests or skills they may have that would be helpful in a volunteer position. Lapton and Heaton both emphasize there will be great local volunteer opportunities, especially during the months of October and November, so students should look for periodic emails from SA[u]CE.
Donation boxes located around campus make it easy for the community to donate to the food pantry. Any unwanted and unopened food can be taken to the donation boxes located near the mailboxes in HAM, the SA[u]CE office, the library, the social sciences building, Cook Hall and the food pantry itself.
Heaton has some advice for students who might not know what to do with their leftover HAM points.
“If you have extra Ham points, consider using them to buy donations for the pantry!”
For more information about the NCFP, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
ID card encoding is possiblein the RHD office in Searing “X” hall during normal business hours.
Information for this article was gathered from ncf.edu and insidehighered.com