SHOP the Food Pantry

Elisabeth Bermel

With the ever-increasing price of tuition, it’s no surprise that the number of students in debt is also on the rise. Balancing multiple part-time jobs and taking out extra loans, it can be very difficult to keep the bills from piling up. The added stress of wondering how to pay next month’s rent or where the money to buy groceries will come from can have a negative impact on academics. That’s where Students Helping Our Peers can help.

Students Helping Our Peers, The SHOP, is Iowa State University’s on-campus food pantry. The organization is run by student volunteers who want to give back to their peers, and it can be used by any ISU student. The service is completely free and anonymous, no questions asked.

Over the past 3 years, since opening in January 2011, use of The SHOP’s services has more than tripled. Kirsten Mancosky, junior in Diet & Exercise and President of The SHOP, is excited about this growth. “We are not only happy to serve all students, but want people to utilize the service. With hope that the food pantry stigma will subside, usage of The SHOP should continue to increase,” says Mancosky.

Although the first image that comes to mind with the words “food pantry” is canned food, The SHOP offers much more than that. Yes, the shelves are stocked with canned fruits, vegetables, beans, sauces, and soups, but there are also a wide variety of other non-perishable foods.  Boxes of cereal, pasta, and rice can be found among jars of peanut butter and applesauce, hot chocolate and Crystal Light drink mixes. According to Mancosky, some of the more popular items include peanut butter, cake and cookie mixes, and popcorn.

Canned proteins are another important item that The SHOP offers. Options such as canned chicken, tuna, salmon, SPAM, or beans can be low-cost alternatives in recipes and add a healthy source of protein to meals.

The SHOP also offers a wide variety of non-food items. They often stock household items such as dish soap, laundry detergent, and paper towels. Personal care items such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo, and deodorant are also offered.

The SHOP is open 3 to 6 P.M. Tuesday through Thursday in Room 2616 of the Food Services Building. For more information about The SHOP or how to donate or volunteer, like them on Facebook or visit their website on the University’s student organizations page.