A call for donations went out to the Kutztown University campus to donate food to the Finals Week Food Pantry.
“We have several students that report that they are hungry on a daily basis. Further distressing is the number of students that report that they know one or more KU students that are hungry on a daily basis. During finals week last year we served more than 90 students with a Finals Week Pantry,” KU Radio manager Mike Regensburger posted on Facebook.
To assist these students in completing the semester, the Office of Student Involvement, MSU 153, collected non-perishables the last week of classes. Students can pick up food items during the last week of classes and during finals.
“So they can fill their bellies,” posted Regensburger.
Students also will be given information about services available in the area that can assist them in a wide variety of needs. They will be informed of KU’s arrangement with Friend, Inc. The Office of Student Involvement also is coordinating a grassroots effort to match students with extra block meals to those students in need of a meal. Any donations left will be used to restock KU’s small “Bear Essentials” food pantry and be donated to Friend, Inc.
Donations include pasta, pasta sauce, microwave self-stable meals, canned meats, soups, protein bars and granola bars, to name a few items.
“I think it is really great because I know there are students who run out of their meal plan, who don’t have Bear Bucks or Flex or whatever their dining option is and they’re hungry,” said KU student Ally Destefano, a graduate assistant in the KU Office of Student Involvement. “(The Finals Week Pantry) is a way to help people to not be hungry and I think it’s really great service that we provide.”
KU student Jess Burns, also a graduate assistant in the office, said, “I think it’s a really good opportunity for not only students to get involved with helping students in the (KU) community but also faculty and staff. It’s a good push to get more people involved on and off campus.”
“Students will be able to come in and get what they need and they can come back more than once,” said Leah M. Cassellia, Director, Office of Student Involvement,
This is the second year the Finals Week Food Pantry has been held.
“The food pantry project is something that started about a year ago when we started to identify some of our students were coming in and letting us know that they were hungry. We were taking them out individually for a bite to eat to talk about their situation and see how we could help,” she said.
The Office of Student Involvement conducted a campus-wide assessment about students’ needs, resulting in statistical information that enabled them to reach out to the campus community about the need to collect food and monetary donations to help students get through their final exam schedule, Cassellia said.
Students, both on campus and off, can visit the Finals Week Food Pantry at the Office of Student Involvement the last week of classes and during finals.
“So they can not be worried about where they’re going to get their next meal. They can have a full belly and not be distracted by their food insecurity issues,” said Cassellia.
Many, she said, have used all of their allotted meal plans and used all of their Bear Bucks or Flex funds. Some live in apartments and are not required to have a meal plan and may have used all of their funds at this point.
Last year they served 90 students.
The Bear Essentials Food Pantry serves students on a daily basis throughout the semester. They also collaborate with Friend Inc. KU students can go to Friend for a KU student monthly pantry, serving up to 30 students. They can also obtain assistance from Friend for other needs such as help with heating or electric bills or budgeting.
“We’ve been really appreciative of the time and energy (Friend) has put into the partnership,” said Cassellia.