Students open food pantry on campus


Photo: Huiling Wu/Iowa State Daily

Cassidi Thompson, senior in anthropology, donates food to The Shop on Thursday in Food Sciences building.

Ben Theobald

The Students Helping Our Peers organization held a grand opening for its food pantry Thursday in the Food Sciences Building.

The idea of opening a food pantry came from a FSHN 100 Transfer course.

“In class we were given an assignment to read the book ‘Nickel and Dimed’ or volunteer at a food assistance program in Ames,” said Hailey Boudreau, sophomore in dietetics and co-president of SHOP. “We had to write a paper or do a PowerPoint on the need for our community.”

It wasn’t until after the class that the idea for a food bank on campus came about when they joined a learning community.

“We were given an opportunity after the class to join a community and work with the ISU Dining staff and create something either for in the community or on campus,” Boudreau said. “We came up with the idea of a food bank on campus.”

The food pantry is only for Iowa State students.

Students who brought four or more cans of food to donate were rewarded by SHOP members with a SHOP T-shirt and refreshments.

Joy Smith, junior in food science, joined SHOP a few weeks ago.

“I really liked what I saw at the meeting, and I decided to stay with the group,” Smith said.

Students who were interested in playing a major part in food and nutrition problems were able to contribute at the food drive.

“The food pantry is the best way to help because it is easy to access for students and faculty,” said Feibi Hou, junior in dietetics.

Sarah Miller, food science and human nutrition academic adviser, serves as one of the advisers of SHOP and taught the class that conceived the initial idea of a food pantry.

“The students worked on a proposal on what were the needs of the community, and that’s how they came up with the idea of SHOP,” Miller said. “That proposal was presented to the Inter-Residence Hall Association who we asked if they would be supportive of what SHOP is doing, and they were.”

The IRHA is writing a bill that will allow SHOP to ask students who have meal plans to donate a certain amount of them that they are not going to use.

Students who donate give their name, student ID number and the amount of meals they would like to donate, said Sarah Schwanebeck, junior in dietetics and co-president of SHOP.

“The food cost of those meals can be used as funding to support the SHOP,” Miller said.

The idea of donating meals started last July.

“It was a learning community discussion with the [College] of Human Sciences, and it blossomed into this student organization,” said Nancy Levandowski, director of ISU Dining.

Mike Parsons, construction manager, is a volunteer at Free Market & Meals programs in Ames, which currently consists of two parts: a free meal program and a perishable food pantry.

“Folks who are having a hard time buying food can use this as a source of filling their grocery bag,” Parsons said.

Suzanne Hendrich, professor of food science and human nutrition, also serves as one of the advisers for SHOP.

“There is going to be a lot of opportunities to provide food resources for people who might need it,” Hendrich said. “Also knowing what the nutritional quality is of what they are eating, how do they eat a healthy diet and assuring food safety.”

Breanna Wetzler, program assistant for food science and human nutrition, assisted with the SHOP program.

“I help with promotion as well as have the great fortune to help students,” Wetzler said. “We are really proud of the students.”

The food pantry is a service opportunity for all students to get involved.

“All students have something to offer,” said Ruth MacDonald, chairwoman and professor of food science and human nutrition. “Students can use skill and knowledge from their majors and apply them in these experiences outside the classroom. There is potential for the entire campus to be involved.”

The food pantry is open 3 to 6 p.m. every Tuesday in the Food Services building in room 2616.

For more information about  SHOP, contact co-president Hailey Boudreau, co-president Sarah Schwanebeck, advisor Sarah Bender Miller, or advisor Suzanne Hendrich.