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Student-run food pantry prepares for reopening

Hungry students can once again find relief at the Weber Cares Food Pantry starting Sept. 4. The food pantry is currently being moved to the fourth floor of the Shepherd Union Building in Room 402.

The pantry recently started the moving process, switching locations from the Center for

Weber Cares Food Pantry
Cans are sorted and organized for the Weber Cares Food Pantry reopening scheduled for Sept. 4.

Diversity and Unity to the more objective site upstairs.

“I think the new location upstairs is more neutral,” said Mike Moon, assistant director for the Community Involvement Center.

Moon said he hopes struggling students will utilize the food pantry, which will be open Monday through Friday, 12-3 p.m., and staffed by student volunteers.

“It is for any student, no questions asked,” Moon said.

This new location of the Weber Cares Food Pantry will provide more anonymity, and is more accessible to those in need.

“Students weren’t feeling as comfortable coming in,” said Tess Woodward, chair for the pantry. “I hope that this will reach out to even more people that need this service, that they will feel comfortable coming up here.”

Students in need will never be turned away, and will receive one grocery bag of nonperishable food items per week. The Weber Cares program also offers food vouchers, an immediate hunger relief program. This is a $10 voucher good for any of the Sodexo dining services located in the Shepherd Union Building. For this program, students must submit an application for their first time, and it can only be applied once a month.

Even though students can only visit the pantry once a week, and the food voucher is only good for same-day, one-time use, the Weber Cares program will refer students with a continuing need to different community resources. Students who request another food voucher must have visited the food pantry twice and complete at least three snack courses, which are classes designed to help students learn how to cook the food they receive from the pantry.

“It’s not meant to be a stumbling block for future vouchers,” Moon said. “But it is meant to be a system to let them know that there are more resources available to them than $10 worth of food once a month.”

Catholic Community Services is one of the longest-standing partners of the Community Involvement Center, and they have joined together to provide aid to struggling students until the reopening of the pantry. Students requesting food assistance from Catholic Community Services need to fill out an application for a NU Food Card, and provide identification and proof of enrollment in school. The food bank’s hours are 12- 2:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday.

 Woodward said she hopes to see an influx of student volunteers this fall semester.

“I’m hoping to go to different clubs and athletic groups and just ask them if they need a project,” she said.

The pantry’s goal is to be run by students, and Woodward said she encourages anyone with even an hour to spare to use that time to volunteer.

“That’s what I want it to be: student-run,” she said. “We want them to be the ones helping out their fellow classmates.”

The Weber Cares Food Pantry, which originally opened its doors in September of 2011, doesn’t coordinate its own food drives. Due to the generosity of other campus entities, the pantry usually stays well stocked with a variety of healthy and wholesome food. The Community Involvement Center often holds food drives and frequently places donation boxes around campus. Anyone interested in donating food, time and money to Weber Cares can contact Woodward at [email protected] for more information.

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