Student pantry update

Robin Bridges, Editor in Chief

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There’s a room in the basement that has been feeding students over the course of the last year.

E050-A is the home of the NEIU Student Pantry. It started as a mobile pantry in the spring semester of 2015, the pantry has found a permanent home just outside of the WZRD radio station in the basement of E-building.

Since it began the pantry has seen hundreds of students since it opened 2 years ago. They are allowed to visit the pantry once a day every day that the pantry is open. On days when there are classes, the pantry is open Monday through Thursday between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.

Students can choose items based on availability and they are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. The pantry is stocked weekly with fresh produce and shelf stable items. The produce and a bulk of the shelf-stable items are provided by the Greater Chicago Food Depository. They also make available the donations received through donation cans placed all over the main campus.

Only current students are allowed to use the pantry and there are no appointments needed or requirements. The only request is that students bring their own bags or box to carry items home.  Students should present their student identification card, sign in at the desk and volunteers will assist students in getting everything they need. The pantry has partnered with other student organizations on campus to bring in donations.

These partnerships are not just to provide students with food but also community resources. A representative from the Illinois Hunger Coalition comes twice a month.Their goal is to help students find out if they qualify for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. This program is usually referred to as SNAP, LINK or EBT and provides grocery assistance for low-income individuals and families across the U.S.

Twice a week, a representative from PCC Community Wellness Center is available in the pantry. He helps students navigate the Affordable Care Act Insurance market and determine if they qualify for Medicaid or marketplace insurance. Both of these services are open to more than just current students. They are available to the whole NEIU community. NEIU Faculty, staff, alumni and neighbors are able to work with representatives from these organizations.

Even though the Student Pantry receives regular donation replenishments from the Greater Chicago Food Depository, they are always in need of donations to serve the greatest number of visitors.

Additionally, toiletries are donations that will not be turned away. The most needed donations of this kind are:

Toothpaste

Soap

Shampoo

Conditioner

Toothbrushes

Mouthwash

Dental Floss

If you are a member of the NEIU community who would like to get involved, items to consider donating are:

Makeup samples

Feminine hygiene products

Diapers

Wipes

Razors

Shaving Cream

Sunscreen

Cotton Swabs

A representative from the Illinois Hunger Coalition will be at the Student Pantry on Oct. 30. This person will assist students and fellow NEIU community members find out their eligibility for SNAP. Those who are unable to meet with representatives can contact Shannon Sibel at [email protected].