By Amethyst Martinez
Unbeknownst to most students, the Rider Resource Pantry can be a major asset to many in the school’s community.
The resource pantry offers a variety of items for students in need, including those living on campus as well as commuters and has been open since 2018.
From face masks to canned goods, these supplies can be helpful to those who might need them. The pantry also has a program where food swipes can be donated by students, whose meal plans include five free guest swipes per semester.
The pantry is run by the Office of Service and Civic Engagement with resources entirely from donations and volunteers.
Sophomore environmental science major Ashley Murphy is one of the volunteers who works at the pantry.
“The pantry is here to help the Rider community,” said Murphy. “And it does just that.”
Located next to Daly’s Dining Hall, the Rider Resource Pantry is nestled in the Vona Center, where it welcomes students with any needs.
Murphy said, “Before I volunteered here once a week, I had no idea about the pantry. There’s so many items that you wouldn’t expect, and that is one of the biggest misconceptions. The pantry offers a lot more than just food.”
Giulia Santisi, the graduate assistant for the Office of Service and Civic Engagement, oversees many of duties involved with running the pantry.
“We want to make sure that all students are both academically and individually successful here at Rider,” said Santisi.
The pantry provides toiletries such as deodorant, shampoo and toilet paper while simultaneously offering an array of food, including almond milk, cereal, canned goods and more. It also has school supplies for classes and coats for the chilly Northeast winters.
“We are also trying to be more sustainable, so we offer reusable dinnerware… washable plates and silverware, [and] reusable cloths,” said Santisi.
According to Feeding America, an organization that targets food insecurity in the United States, 8.2% of individuals in Mercer County struggled with food insecurity in 2019.
Feeding America describes food insecurity as a “lack of access, at times, to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members and limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate foods.”
“The pantry has the ability to help so many students at Rider who might not even know it exists,” said Murphy.
Donors to the pantry listed on Rider’s website include Whole Foods Market, Trader Joe’s, Wegmans and Panera Bread.
The pantry also has an Amazon wish list for things that are needed across campus where anyone can donate.
Additionally, the pantry offers a program for students in dorms to borrow a microwave and mini-fridge for a semester if they need it.
“Things like having a microwave or fridge in your dorm can really change your college experience,” said Murphy. “It lets you worry about the important things, like schoolwork, instead of worrying about how you’re going to get these specific items.”
Santisi said, “We want to make sure that students have everything they need, and they’re not having to think of these other necessities.”
The Rider Resource Pantry motto is: Take what you need, use what you take, give back what you can.