Kennesaw State CARE Services opens walk-in food pantry
New concept and location expands options for students dealing with food insecurity
KENNESAW, Ga. (Apr 12, 2018) — An expanded food pantry offering walk-in, self-serve access, opened its doors at Kennesaw State University to help students who are not getting enough to eat, a growing crisis on college campuses nationwide.
Kennesaw State’s Campus Awareness Resource and Empowerment (CARE) Services, a support unit for students who have experienced homelessness, food insecurity and/or the foster care system, created the larger pantry in Willingham Hall to provide greater access to all KSU students struggling with issues of hunger.
“We have tripled our pantry space and made it easier and more accessible for students in need,” said Marcy Stidum, director of CARE Services. “Students can select their own food items much like when shopping at a grocery store. They’ll be able to tell us what foods they enjoy, which will help us to stock the right inventory in the future.”
Open to all KSU students with a valid ID, the pantry allows students to select their own items each week, including prepared freezer meals and travel-size toiletries, which have been added to current pantry staples such as soup, canned meats and vegetables, cereal and peanut butter.
Stidum dubbed the new pantry concept a “shop with dignity model,” which she said gives students the freedom to choose and maintains their dignity.
Stocked entirely from community contributions, the pantry was made possible by a $12,500 gift from Kroger, a $5,000 donation from the Publix Food For All register collection program, as well as funding from the Beacon Foundation and partnerships with the Atlanta Community Food Bank and MUST Ministries.
University Dining will soon provide individually prepared meals to stock in the food pantry’s freezer. The pantry will be open year-round, except holiday breaks in November and December. It relies on KSU faculty, staff and alumni volunteers to operate each weekday.
As part of the expansion, a MUST Ministries program called “Save It Forward” will now be offered through KSU’s pantry. Any KSU student, faculty or staff member whose family is eligible for the program through the Cobb County School District or Marietta City Schools may receive a month’s worth of food for pickup in the Willingham Hall location.
Kennesaw State first established a food pantry, called Feed the Future, more than 10 years ago as a joint program between KSU Student Health Services and the Staff Senate. Managed by CARE Services since 2014, the pantry has served almost 600 students with more than 31,000 pounds of food.
A nationwide study by the Wisconsin HOPE Lab released last week revealed that 36 percent of college students at the 66 four-year colleges and universities surveyed are going hungry.
– Tiffany Capuano
Photos by Lauren Kress
A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers more than 150 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its more than 35,000 students. With 13 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia and the third-largest university in the state. The university's vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the region and from 92 countries across the globe. A Carnegie-designated doctoral institution, it is one of the 50 largest public institutions in the country. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu.