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Food for Thought: Food Pantries at OU

By Keiran President
On October 26, 2018

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World Food Day is celebrated worldwide on October 16 in honor of the founding of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in 1945.

This day was celebrated on campus by the Diversity Activities Board, with the theme “Our Actions are our Future.”

On October 16, the group collected wasted food from breakfast, lunch and dinner meals in the Hetrick Bistro to pay tribute to the concept of #ZeroHunger, which carries the message, “Don’t waste food, produce more with less, and adopt a more healthy and sustainable diet.”

In honor of this date, The Campus decided to provide insight for those who do not know where they can get food when in need. As fellow students, we’re aware that living off campus can be a real struggle when it comes to going to Walmart every so often to get groceries on a student budget.

It is also difficult for those living on campus, who may run out of swipes and have nothing to eat or no funds to get stuff at Walmart.

But, never fear, there are places on campus in which you can find food items in your time of need.

The first source in located in the nurse or counselor’s office. If you haven’t been there to see the counselor or nurse yet, you may not know of it. This food pantry has always been around, but the official budget to get the pantry going was created last year. School administrators saw a need for it after realizing that students run out of swipes in the cafeteria and wouldn’t have sufficient funds to go out and buy a meal.

They cater to all students and even staff, if needed. They have more than just food items – they carry toiletries, hygiene, laundry and hugs too.

“Do be shy or ashamed. Just come in and get what you need. We act as a family and try to help each other out,” says Martha Dodd, OU on-site nurse.

Our second source is located in the basement of the Atkinson Building and is formally known as The Fredrikson Center for Faith and Church Vitality. This is a little bigger that our first pantry but embodies the same warm and welcoming environment.

It was started to help college students who are facing barriers like difficult home lives, financial struggles or just bad days.

There was a large food drive years ago which got the pantry going. The pantry is now 100 percent run off donations and community support from ECKAN. They cater to Ottawa student, faculty and staff, and their doors are always open.

“There is always a large variety of goods. You never know what you are really going to find – it’s like a fun surprise!,” says Kurt Hamilton, pantry manager, TAU coordinator and Chaplain’s Assistant. “There is no limit to what you can take. We ask them to usually take more than they have, as I would rather the food go with them than continue to sit on a shelf where no one can enjoy it at all.”

The food pantry is not only for those who are in serious need -- it can be used by any student, faculty or staff member who may just be having a rough week.

Don’t be scared to go to the food pantries on campus. I frequent it as much as I can, whether I’m in need or I just believe there is something I might be running out of. The location cannot be any better -- students are on campus every day. It does not take more than five minutes to grab some food items, say thank you and go on your merry way.

Use the resources given to you, combat food waste and remember #ZeroHunger!

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