Student-Run Food Drive Benefits UVU’s On-Campus Food Pantry

The UVU Food Pantry is an on-campus resource available to students, faculty, and staff who may be facing food insecurities.

   

There’s a room in UVU’s Center for Social Impact that’s lined with shelves for storing food, personal hygiene products, and select baby supplies. This room serves as the UVU Food Pantry, an on-campus resource available to students, faculty, and staff who may be facing food insecurities. In the hopes of filling these shelves with much-needed items, the club A Hand Up at UVU is currently hosting a donation drive to collect basic necessities for the UVU Food Pantry. Now through May 6, 2021, you can drop off donations at the Fulton Library on the Orem Campus.

“In our conversations with the UVU Food Pantry, we discovered that there are certain items which are in high demand but which, unfortunately, the food pantry has a hard time securing,” said Madeline Brenchley, club president of A Hand Up at UVU. “Collecting these hard-to-get items is the key purpose of our service project, and we hope to receive as many donations as possible!”

The top five* currently needed items for the UVU Food Pantry are:

  1. Can openers
  2. Shelf-stable milk (dehydrated and non-dairy)
  3. Cleaning supplies (dish soap, hand soap, brushes, and sponges)
  4. Toilet paper
  5. Canola oil

While the food pantry was established around 11 years ago by students as a service-learning project, there are still many who don’t know about its existence on campus. Raising awareness of the food pantry and the services it provides is one of the major benefits of this donation drive.

Along with awareness comes the hope to “destigmatize basic needs insecurities,” Brenchley said. Members of A Hand Up have had their own experiences of facing basic living insecurities while at UVU. “We hope to shed light on the prevalence of poverty in higher education and help others to realize that experiencing basic needs insecurity is nothing to be ashamed of,” Brenchley said.

In fact, if students don’t acknowledge personal needs regarding food insecurities and receive the necessary help, their college careers suffer. Limited or no access to regular healthy food has been linked to lower attention spans, grades, and test scores, so it’s important for students to utilize the UVU Food Pantry if there is a need.

“Many people have this image of the ‘starving student’ but I don’t think they understand how real of a problem it is,” said Amber Hendrickson, program director of impact partnerships for the Center for Social Impact. “Food insecurity, especially with the pandemic, is larger than ever, with more and more students needing access to these resources.”

Hendrickson’s data from the UVU Food Pantry shows that in the 2019-2020 academic year:

  • 1,013 students utilized the UVU Food Pantry
  • 1,429 total people lived in the households that submitted a food order
  • 693 food vouchers were distributed
  • 7,064 pounds of food were given to UVU students

“Succeeding as a student is hard enough as it is,” said Brenchley. “Succeeding as a student when you are hungry is even more difficult. This is why we at A Hand Up feel that all Wolverines should be aware of and be working to support their fellow classmates who have fallen into difficult financial circumstances.”

 UVU students needing to utilize the UVU Food Pantry can place an online order. Orders are available for pick up within a week.  

 

*A full list of donation items needed are as follows:

Pop-top canned foods, can openers, shelf-stable non-dairy milk, dehydrated milk, dehydrated potatoes, 1-3 lb. bags of flour, 1-3 lb. bags of sugar, hot and cold cereals, canola oil, disposable casserole dishes, paper towels, Ziploc bags, trash bags, dish soap, hand soap, sponges, dish cleaning brushes, disinfectant wipes, any other non-used cleaning supplies, laundry detergent (preferably pods or powder), toilet paper, shampoo, and conditioner.

 

About the UVU Food Pantry

In partnership with Community Action Services and Food Bank, this on-campus food pantry is available to students, faculty, and staff struggling with food insecurity. The UVU Food Pantry offers canned goods and boxed items along with basic hygiene items, and some baby products such as formula, diapers, etc.

In addition, meal vouchers for campus restaurants are also available for use up to three times per semester.

 

About A Hand Up at UVU:

An official UVU student-run club that serves as a student response focused on addressing homelessness and basic needs insecurity through service, advocacy, and awareness campaigns. To learn more or to become a club member, visit A Hand Up at UVU’s webpage, email them directly at ahandupatuvu@gmail.com, or follow their Instagram account at @ahandup_uvu.