Interfaith Center fends off student hunger
The center offers free food through its donation-based pantry.
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The University Interfaith Center is feeding dozens of students each week through its ongoing food drive.
Students can choose from a selection of food items such as canned fruits and vegetables, peanut butter and jelly, loaves of bread and granola bars, among other items at the food pantry in the University Interfaith Center.
Pastor Adele Langworthy from the University Interfaith Center and Cooperative Protestant Campus Ministry said she started the food drive in spring 2011 after repeatedly hearing that many students often choose to skip meals instead of buying food on campus.
“Students were limiting themselves to one or two meals a day, and these meals were often unhealthy,” Langworthy said. “We started this drive as an answer to that problem.”
Jonathan Grunin, a programming associate for Hillel, the Interfaith Center’s Jewish group, said that depriving the body of food could lead to many other problems.
“Students can lose focus and do worse in school, among other things,” Grunin said.
Langworthy said students have a wide variety of food items to choose from.
“When we’re lucky, we have fresh fruit, too,” Langworthy said. “Students usually tend to go for the healthier items first.”
The food pantry strives to meet special dietary needs as well. There are a few vegan items available, a kosher section and more vegetarian options than were offered last year, according to Langworthy.
Langworthy said she also works with the College of Liberal Arts, which collects donations on campus and distributes them to the center once a week. The center receives donations from outside organizations about once or twice a week.
All students are welcome to the food pantry in the Interfaith Center, regardless of their religious background, according to Grunin.
“We don’t ask you what your religion is or force you to talk about it,” Langworthy said. “We don’t try to invade your privacy. If you would like to discuss with us, that would be great, but you don’t have to. You can just hang out and eat.”
No student is turned away from the pantry. Students visiting the pantry must write their name on a sign-out sheet, as well as what food they’ve taken, according to Grunin.
“We feel that people respect the system more if there is a sign-out sheet,” Langworthy said. “No one has abused this service.”
The food pantry feeds about 100 students per week and welcomes familiar faces each day, according to Grunin. The food drive is ongoing and currently has not set date to stop offering food.
Donations for the center are accepted at the CLA Dean’s Office, located in McIntosh Humanities Building, Room 214, as well as in the office of every CLA department.
Students can pick up free food items at the pantry in the University Interfaith Center, located in Brotman Hall, Room 178. The center is open Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.