By Mary-Lyn Buckley
Pursuing a college degree is hard enough, but it’s even harder when you have nowhere to turn in a time of need. Rider University has recognized there is a need to fill campus hunger and opened its doors to the University’s first ever pantry on Feb. 6.
According to a recent study, 30 percent of students attending Rider fall below the poverty line. This number suggests that many students have limited resources, including food, water and basic everyday living necessities.
“Many of the students are facing the challenges of overcoming food insecurities and meal plan gaps. We have now joined hundreds of colleges and universities in an effort to conquer hunger on college campuses,” said Dana Lopes, assistant director of the Pantry Implementation and Steering Committee. “I would like to thank all of the individuals on campus that have sent over donations. You helped make this dream a reality.” The Pantry Implementation and Steering Committee is made up of nine faculty and staff members who worked vigorously this past semester to make the pantry come to life.
The Rider Pantry will serve as a support system for students and will provide access to food, beverages, toiletries, personal care items, laundry supplies, bedding and clothing.
The Rider Pantry is located next to Daly Dining Hall in the Vona Annex, Room 23, a low-traffic area offering privacy to students.
“This became an idea from vision to reality,” Vice President of Student Affairs Leanna Fenneberg said. “Literature suggest 1 in 5 students at a four-year institution reports being hungry. And I think at a place like Rider, where we have such a high price point, we don’t realize that reality. We think that we’re impervious to that reality and that’s a misconception.”
The goal of the Rider Pantry is to “alleviate food insecurities and the lack of other essential resources” for all students. According to the Implementation and Steering Committee, the pantry will operate on an honor system and students will complete a first-time application form to keep track of the pantry’s inventory.
Students, faculty and staff members interested in making a donation are encouraged to contact Dana Lopes at firstname.lastname@example.org.