By Ryan McFadden
Hungry ESU students can go to St. Matthews Church every Friday from 3 to 5 p.m. to browse from a selection of donated non-perishables at the new Warrior Food Pantry.
The Warrior Food Pantry is an effort to fix the issue of food insufficiency facing that financially struggling ESU students face.
This past summer, the college conducted an email survey that included 937 student respondents, 55.5 percent said they were hungry due to lack of funds. Among those who were surveyed, “lack of affordability” was listed as the main reason for not having a meal plan.
The cheapest plan at ESU costs $300. The cost of college tuition forces some attendees to budget strictly and sometimes dinner doesn’t make the cut. 2017 will be the first year for the Warrior Food Pantry.
“Students have indicated that they haven’t eaten in days,” said Dr. Nancy Weaver, Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs.
Dr. Weaver also says “they begin to prioritize, sometimes placing food low on the list.” Learning in classes or labs is a mountain to climb while consumed with hunger pains.
From the same survey, an unnamed student testimonial read, “I become fatigued and cannot concentrate — lack of focus when all I think about is food/hunger.”
ESU’s response is to collaborate with St. Matthews Church at 78 Ridgeway St. to start the Warrior Food Pantry.
On Friday afternoons, any ESU student can walk down the basement steps on the school side of the church and swipe their e-card to get in.
Labelled shelves with cans of Ravioli, Campbell’s Soup and bottles of V8 line a corner. Rows of canned corn and vegetables fill the back wall. Students can fill grocery bags and take the 5 minuet stroll back to campus.
So far, the food has mostly come from the Church and ESU faculty. For this program to have more impact, more support from ESU students is needed.
Joe Sudano, Campus Minister said, “We haven’t collected enough food or had enough students volunteer, we need more to sustain this program.”
The Warrior Food Pantry gives students an opportunity to support their fellow classmates. It would also make a great service learning project.
Students can help by donating goods, stocking shelves, and transporting food to the pantry.
There are 20 donation boxes located around campus. ESU sent an email encouraging students and student organizations to become involved in the program.
Dr. Weaver is hopeful that the impact of this pantry goesbeyond providing food for hungry students.
Dr. Weaver says “I see it serving a couple of purposes, it will be critical for students in need and those willing to participate, I see the community brought together.”
The Warrior Food Pantry will open this Friday, Sept. 15, at 3 p.m.
Email Ryan at: