Advancing the Sabre Mission: The Marian Food Pantry

Kelli Bahls, Staff Writer

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.

Email This Story

Located inside Campus Ministry, just south of the Hornung Student Center (HSC), the Marian Food Pantry is a relatively new development on campus. Perhaps you heard the announcements late last semester while attending mass in Dorcas Chapel, or the advertisements in the HSC caught your attention.

For those who might not know about the program, several questions might come to mind. Just what is the Marian Food Pantry? How did the program get started, and what is it all about? To answer some of these questions, I interviewed Sister Edie Crews, Campus Minister and Director of Campus Ministry.

The idea for the initiative came when Sr. Deb Walters, Director of Health Services, contacted staff in the Campus Ministry Office.

“She called us and said she had several students who didn’t have enough food for the week, and what were we thinking of doing about that,” Crews explained. “And since we are all about sustainability and doing for the good of others, we decided to start a food pantry here at Campus Ministry.”

While many students may opt to purchase a food plan through Sodexo, this option is not always feasible for some on-campus students, commuters, and adult undergraduates. Students who don’t sign up for a meal plan may still be eligible to receive approximately $60 in “meal points” per semester, but these points only go so far.

For students with financial struggles, it can be tempting to go most of the day without eating while on campus. According to a 2014 study published in the Journal of National Education and Behavior, 59% of surveyed students suffered from “food insecurities.”1 Whether the students lacked access of readily available, healthy food options, or whether they lacked the financial security to obtain food, choosing not to eat can lead to difficulties focusing and learning in the classroom.

To address this problem, several key figures worked to get the Marian Food Pantry running. Jack Talbot, Unit Marketing Manager with Sodexo, and Sr. Marie Scott were instrumental in their efforts to bring awareness to and assist with a food drive held in November 2017.

With a set of shelves secured and stocked in Campus Ministry, Sr. Crews and Cathy Mathweg, Dean of Academic Advising and Academic Services, opened up the food pantry to students in need.

The food pantry’s mission centers on eliminating hunger issues on campus. Students in need may come and take up to eight items, and individuals with families may take up to eight items and two family items, or meal plans.

“It’s a non-judgmental, confidential food pantry, so we’d like people to feel comfortable enough to come to it,” Crews said. “We also want to start a hygiene drive because if you can’t afford food, you can’t afford deodorant, shampoo, and that kind of stuff. That’s really expensive.”

Campus Ministry Club intends to host the hygiene drive during Lent, which starts February 14, 2018. It was also announced on Monday, January 29, that the Student Senate e-board plans to host a Trick-or-Treat for Food Donation campaign in April to further support the food pantry’s efforts. Look for posters and information in the Student Senate meeting minutes for both of these events as the dates draw closer.

When asked what was the most rewarding part about operating the food pantry, Crews responded, “I think just seeing the families…Just seeing them take food that we have plenty of is really a gift to me, and also how appreciative they are. That’s just so nice that they’re so giving and it makes me feel good when we’re able to give out of our wealth and people are appreciative.”

If you or a student in the Marian community you know needs food assistance, the food pantry is open Mondays 11:00-1:00, Tuesdays 3:00-5:00, and Fridays 12:00-2:00. You can also schedule an appointment by contacting Sr. Edie Crews or Cathy Mathweg.

Interested in donating? Donations are welcome at any time—simply drop off your non-perishable food donations at the Campus Ministry Office. Items sought at this time include ramen noodles and spaghetti sauce.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email