An on-campus help for hunger
About a year ago, a small group of students had an idea to benefit their peers in need. They decided to create a food pantry on campus, which, after much planning, had its grand opening on Monday, Sept. 3.
“The idea was brought up to us by a CCE student who witnessed her friends kind of struggling, and wondered if Guilford could do something about this,” said junior Helen Mandalinic, food pantry co-founder.
“It seemed really weird for us not to address hunger here on campus,” said sophomore Noelle Lane, food pantry co-founder. “Caring for your community should just be something that happens anyway. There was an on-campus issue, and nothing was really being done to publicize it or anything like that.”
When it was clear that students needed the support, the planning began.
Their main issue was finding a place for the food pantry, but the program eventually found a location in the Bonner Center for Community Learning, located just past Dana Auditorium. The house holds non-perishable foods in a large closet, giving the food to any student who needs it. It is open from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays.
“(The food pantry is) also for staff members, because we’re aware that there are staff members that get here early in the morning, have three or four jobs, (and) have family at home,” said senior Chelsey Wilson, Bonner Center hunger fellow and food pantry co-founder. “So if there’s someone who missed that week of groceries, we are here for them, and we’re here for the students.”
The program also aims to offer fresh produce.
“We have the farmers’ market (to provide food), which just started this summer, that takes food from different farms,” Mandalinic said. “(It’s) just the Guilford Farm right now, but it’s going to grow. … Students can get (produce) cheap, but it’s still organic.”
Since the program is just beginning, the founders hope to gain support to sustain the food pantry for years to come.
“Of course we don’t want hunger to be a problem, but we want (the food pantry) to be here for a student or staff member in need,” Wilson said. “Even if just two people use it, those two people might now have food.”
“A person shouldn’t have to choose between food and education,” Lane said. “Having to make that decision is just too much for one person.”
The coordinators hope that the food pantry will reduce the issue of hunger on campus and establish a sense of community, carrying on the tradition of social awareness on campus.
“I think Guilford is a great opportunity to try out things you want to do in the real world, and basically we’re sitting here creating businesses the one time that we have,” said Mandalinic. “A lot of resources are available to us here, and when you graduate, you might lose some of those resources. So it’s a really good time to get other students involved … and I think it’s really important that we are active and start our education and jobs now, not wait until we graduate.”