According to the College and University Food Bank Alliance, food insecurity, hunger and poverty among college students are growing issues in the United States; these are issues that The University of Toledo is trying to combat.
The Experiential Learning and Career Development Office is in the final planning stages of an initiative that will instate an on-campus food pantry in the Toledo Campus Ministry building, which will start serving UT students this fall.
The grand opening will be held Sunday, Oct. 12, during the annual CROP (Communities Responding to Overcome Poverty) Hunger Walk, an event dedicated to ending hunger that the department co-sponsors.
“We’re aware that some of our students run out of food and meal swipes at times,” said Sabina Serratos, associate director of experiential learning and career development. “It’s a struggle we know about all too well. Many college students struggle to survive from month to month. We want to make sure that we’re helping them eat.”
All UT students in need are eligible to visit the pantry once a month and get a three-day supply of food, which depending on their eating habits, could be equivalent to a week’s worth of meals.
“It’s not a source for them to live off of completely; it’s a means to help them until the next pay and to bridge the gap for their hunger needs,” she said.
The idea for a food pantry has been in the works for several years, but was unable to come to fruition because it was difficult to find an ideal location, she said.
However, Serratos said during the planning for the CROP Hunger Walk, the Rev. David Montgomery, executive director of Toledo Campus Ministry, offered space for the pantry at the Toledo Campus Ministry building.
“We met, talked, toured the building, and determined it was a perfect location,” she said.
According to Serratos, there was plenty of space in the building, and Experiential Learning and Career Development could offer the manpower that the ministry lacked, making them ideal partners.
Additionally, Serratos said Toledo Area Ministries offered to partner with her and is donating $300 a month for the food pantry to use until it’s able to run on its own.
Cans of food for the pantry and monetary donations for the Feed Your Neighbor Program and Church World Service mission will be accepted at the CROP Hunger Walk, as well as year-round on site.
Registration forms for the walk are available in the Experiential Learning and Career Development Office, located in Student Union Room 1533.
For more information or to make a donation, contact Serratos at 419.530.2992 or firstname.lastname@example.org.