By: Allison Andes
A committee of Bellarmine faculty and students have worked together to create a food pantry for students on campus.
The Knights Pantry officially opened on Nov. 5 in room 225I in Treece Hall, according to assistant dean of students Natasha Begin, who is the head of the committee working on the pantry.
“It’s been half a year in the making, but we’re really excited about it,” Begin said. “This all came about because we surveyed students, faculty, and staff last year to get a sense of if there was a need on campus for access to fresh and healthy food, and the answer to that was yes.”
Begin was director of service and leadership at the time and had taken note of other colleges across the country opening food pantries on their campuses. This inspired her to get a group together to open one on Bellarmine’s campus as well.
The committee formed last spring and worked over the summer to draft a food pantry proposal. They applied for a Dare to Care partnership in September and were approved quickly. This community partnership with Dare to Care will supply Bellarmine with the food needed for the pantry once every week.
“One of the things that’s really exciting about the food pantry is that we’ll be able to provide fresh produce, so it won’t just be boxed and canned,” Begin said. “We’ll be able to provide nutritious food for those who need supplemental support.”
There will also be frozen and refrigerated foods available in order to give students a wide range of options.
Becca Broda, student director of the Knights Pantry, said she believes the opening of this pantry is so important because it is a crucial resource to student success. “If a student is not receiving adequate nutrition, they will be less likely to be performing well in their academics and to be engaged on campus,” she said.
The Bellarmine Food Recovery Network will also lend a hand to the pantry by helping with education and outreach about food security issues, Emma Haney, president of BFRN, said.
The food pantry is free and, as of right now, unlimited. Also, while students must sign in each time they visit, names and information are kept confidential, and all pantry staff members have signed privacy agreements.
It will be open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for all Bellarmine students in need—that includes undergraduates, graduates, commuters and residents.
The pantry will be restocked every week. Volunteers are still needed to help pick up food from Dare to Care each week and to assist with food inventory. Any students interested can contact Broda at firstname.lastname@example.org.