Food pantry proposed for USU campus

Utah State University student volunteer leaders are seeking a campus location for a student food pantry to serve needy students. For now the potential program has been given the name of SNAC (Student Nutrition Access Center). Dave Knighton is the student government Service Vice President. “When we talked to a few groups on campus they really were supportive of this idea,” said Knighton, “and it was really surprising the excitement they had for this project.” Every year students who volunteer in the Val R. Christensen Service Center on campus work in a project known as “Stuff A Bus” to gather food for the Cache Valley food pantry. It was then they learned from pantry director Matt Whittaker that he is unable to serve single students through his facility. “Southern Utah University came up with the idea of a student food pantry,” said Knighton, “and they have been doing it for five or six years. The other colleges in state have latched on to it. “We went around to some of the programs on our campus – The Women’s Center, SAAVI, the Multicultural Center – and asked them if they knew of a need for this type of thing. They about tackled us with excitement. They all told us it would be a big benefit for some students.” Now the challenge is to find a location to house the pantry. “We’ve looked in the Taggart Student Center,” said Knighton, “and that isn’t very likely to happen. We’ve talked to Housing and to some other departments. If we find something, it probably won’t be in the central campus.” Knighton said several departments have expressed the need for food for students in their departments. “The Multicultural Center has a lot of students from different countries paying high tuition and they are struggling in these times, as are some re-entry students.” Varuna Ponnamperuma, assistant director of the campus service center, said USU will continue to participate in drives for the Cache Valley food pantry and that SNAC would be an extension of the valley’s food pantry. “Our plan is to work closely with them but we’re intent on having the student food pantry on campus or somewhere close,” said Knighton. Service Center volunteer Jordan Hunt advanced the idea that the student food pantry might also become a good source for information on nutrition.

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