Expanding the Feed U Food Pantry

By Bianca Greeff, Graduate Assistant

Student looks at the label of a canned good in the food pantry.

U community member picking out food. Courtesy Nick Knight.

There are people on our campus who face food insecurity. For these students, faculty, staff, and their families, the University of Utah’s Feed U Food Pantry provides an on-campus resource to help reduce food insecurity. With the new central location in the basement of the A. Ray Olpin Student Union, upgrades in equipment, and growing community support, the pantry offers anyone with a uNID access to fresh, nutritious, and local food items at no cost and no income verification.

Our on-campus pantry was opened in October 2014 after a survey that was conducted by the Center for Student Wellness and a Master of Nutrition student showed 51 percent  of respondents were categorized as having “very low food security” or “low food security.”

The founders of Feed U recognized the importance of providing an accessible and safe place that addresses student’s basic food needs, so that they can focus on main reasons why they are at the University of Utah. The University doesn’t want the campus community to have to choose between keeping food on the table or addressing emergencies or unexpected costs as they arise.

Nick Knight, Student Program Director of the FeedU Pantry, stated, “Our number one goal is to have something in people’s stomachs. It is even better when it can be the right stuff.”

Feed U Pantry new layout.

The Feed U Pantry’s New Layout.

Over the summer of 2016, the Feed U pantry moved into the basement of the Union that was previously used as a dining services prep area. The new, centralized location offers freezer and refrigeration equipment and access to a loading dock, which allows the pantry to receive and to store fresh food deliveries.

The Feed U Pantry has also been expanding and growing with new partnerships around campus. The Edible Campus Garden team is donating fresh produce that is grown right here on campus, and  several Edible Campus Garden Stewards volunteer at the pantry to help with the operating hours. In addition, The Food Recovery Network student group will soon begin steering some of the prepared food they obtain from dining services to the pantry.

Produce on shelf of food pantry.

Produce from the Edible Campus Gardens.

In addition to food donations, the Feed U Pantry relies on student volunteers to keep their work afloat. “The pantry can only be open as long as volunteers are available,” stated Knight.

After spring semester registration, the pantry will send out a notification e-mail asking for student volunteers. The pantry asks for volunteers to work at least one hour a week. You can volunteer by signing up, or emailing the pantry at feedufoodpantry@gmail.com.

The pantry is always looking for non-perishable, non-expired, non-opened, individually-wrapped items. If you would like to make a donation, you can drop it off at the FeedU Pantry or email feedufoodpantry@gmail.com to make arrangements. Monetary donations can be given through Give to the U.

Location: Basement of the A. Ray Olpin University of Utah Student Union

Hours:

Monday:     10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Tuesday:     9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Wednesday: 10 a.m. – 1 p.m

Thursday:   1 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Friday: 10 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

The pantry is sponsored by the Utah Food Bank, Campus Store, Center for Student Wellness, Bennion Center, Women’s Resource Center, ASUU, and Dining Services.  They have also partnered with the Food Recovery Network.

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