JSC takes first steps toward food pantry

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As food pantries are popping up at colleges and universities across the country, Johnson Sate College could potentially be next on the list.

Currently there are over 300 schools across the country that have created food pantries for their students.

Director of Student Activities and Community Service Krista Swahn has begun spearheading the possible development of a student food pantry for the Stearns Student Center.

According to a recent survey conducted by the University of Wisconsin, one-third of community college students experience food insecurity.

Since JSC is taking its first steps towards the creation of a food pantry, Swahn will be working with a steering committee to work out all of the details for this initiative regarding potential usage restrictions and any other possible grey areas.

“I am actively asking for donations for items or funds from staff and faculty members so that we can begin to supplement things through the end of the semester,” said Swahn. “My grand vision is that we will have the pantry open and in full force for the fall semester.”

Swahn noted that students will now hopefully no longer be faced with making the choice of spending the majority of their money on school materials and necessities like books and rent over feeding themselves.
This food pantry is exciting for those who enjoy helping others. JSC SGA Freshmen Senator Emily McCarthy says that in high school she found a love for community service through a youth group. “When I heard that we were starting a food pantry on campus I was excited to jump on board,” said McCarthy. “There is clearly a need for a food pantry on campus, and I am eager to help.”

As for filling the pantry, Swahn notes that she thinks things will primarily be done through donations. “As of now it is not my expectation that there will be any college resources going towards this,” said Swahn. “We might ask, but we aren’t at a spot where I could even speculate it. We are going to start with donations and go from there.”

If and when created, the JSC food pantry is intended to consist of a number of nonperishable on-the-go single-portioned items like tortilla chips and salsa, granola bars, microwave popcorn, easy mac, cup-o-noodles, ramen, a number of microwavable meals (non-refrigerated or frozen), boxes of cereal, cereal bars, pop tarts, ravioli and spaghetti-o’s, crackers, juice options, and so on.

Swahn says that she really wants students to know that going hungry is something that they acknowledge as an issue. “We want to put something in place to help them be successful in college,” she said.

For more information on the subject of the JSC food pantry, or how to become involved with its creation, you can visit the SERVE office on the top floor of the Stearns Student Center or contact Krista Swahn via email at Krista.Swahn@jsc.edu, or call at 802-635-1478.