LMU Food Pantry First Annual Drive: “Food Builds Community”

Throughout November and December, the LMU Food Pantry stocked up for the busiest months by hosting its first-ever on-campus food drive. With the support of the community, the LMU Food Pantry collected an array of non-perishables as well as monetary donations from students and staff all over campus, helping the program to meet the needs of the student community. Donation stations and collection boxes were set up around campus and inside C-Stores, while various departments in University Hall and other student organizations like Pi Beta Phi and Sursum Corda held their own collection events for the Pantry.

Brooke Duplantier, a Senior who has worked as a coordinator for the pantry since its creation in Spring of 2017, says that food insecurity is a complex issue experienced by many people in the LMU community

“There are a lot of negative perceptions and stigmas around it,

but the truth is that food insecurity is really normal and millions in this country, especially young college students, can’t afford to eat.”

The Food Pantry, which is run through LMU’s the Center for Service and Action, provides an honor-system based food supply year-round for students struggling to afford food and other day-to-day necessities. “We are all fragile in the same ways, and it just takes one disaster or one thing to go wrong and suddenly we’re not able to provide food for ourselves,” said Duplantier.

Located adjacent to St. Roberts Hall Annex, the Pantry has a small budget in relation to the community it serves. According to Duplantier, the recourse mostly runs through of donations like those collected in the drive, relying on students, alumni, sponsors to help ensure that the shelves stay stocked and that no student in the LMU community must worry about where they will find their next meal.

Student outside of the Center for Service and Action Building“Overall, we collected approximately 10 large boxes of donations from partners across campus,” Duplantier reports. The donations of this year’s drive came from a wide array of LMU community member and partners. Through on-campus drive and donation bins, food was collected on-campus offices like the Admissions Office and OISS, Sodexo and the student C-Store, and the Loft. Off-campus, CSA received donations from business like the University credit Union and Ralph’s grocery.

According to Duplantier, the system is anonymous and is regulated weekly by the number of times the door is opened and closed. CSA reports an estimated 66 percent increase in use of the pantry during times of greater need, which are often near the end of semesters. “That’s why we decided to do the drive this time of year, and we’ve had so many groups reach out to us saying they want to help.” Among those were many LMU student organizations like Pi Beta Phi, Sursum Corda Service Organization, and ASLMU.

“This is an issue that, particularly on a college campus, is important to talk about and be aware of,” said Duplantier. With recent studies now saying that say that as much as 40 percent of U.S. college student populations are food insecure, the LMU Food Pantry’s role on campus hopes that its presence not only can provide free food to students struggling to provide for themselves, but also make LMU into a space where hunger and food instability are a part of the campus conversation.

The LMU Food Pantry is open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. of Wednesdays. For more information of how to donate or volunteer with the pantry, contact lmufoodpantry@lmu.edu.

By Carson Miller