by Kassidy Bowering
Over 150 people went through the line, grabbing different vegetables, meats, breads, and dairy products needed to help stock their pantries. While most of this line was filled with students, members from all neighboring areas were welcomed at Feeding Westchester’s Mobile Food Pantry.
The mobile food pantry will be stopping at Purchase on the first Wednesday of every month of this semester in the Starbucks parking lot. All members of the community are invited and can even go through the line more than once, after a twenty minute waiting period.
Firstly visitors check in, this is a simple process of giving your household size and receiving tag. No other information or identification is needed for this process as Feeding Westchester and the Purchase community try to push any stigma attached to food insecurity.
“We try not to encourage a stigma around this, and allow students to come as freely as possible,” said Dashielle Horn, director of the Learning Center, assistant director of College Writing, and a part of the team overseeing the food pantry on campus.
Horn even did her best to ensure pictures were not taken of people going through the line, only of the setup and volunteers.
After checking in, attendees simply shuffle through the line of food, grabbing the different foods they desire. Each station has a volunteer overseeing it, and allows the attendees to know how much can be taken from each station. Some stations, such as the potato station, allowed for unlimited taking.
As the Purchase community continues to work with Feeding Westchester different parts of the campus will be volunteering with the pantry. This past visit Athletics and Admissions staff were helping, but each month there will be new volunteers.
All of the excess food from Feeding Westchester’s mobile food pantry were donated to Purchase’s on campus food pantry, located in the basement of the library in the learning center.
Currently the food pantry has a fully stocked freezer and fridge as well as the excess food on all of the shelves and countertops. The pantry offers different produce and stabled shelf goods, such as granola bars, pasta, rice, and canned soups. Currently the pantry has an excess of pie crusts, football shaped cookies, lettuce mixes, and milk.
Mauricio Eguez, one of the campus food pantry staff, noted with excitement, “more and more people come every week.”
Eguez has worked at the pantry since its opening last year, allowing students to utilize the pantry as needed and inventorying what students leave with. Just as with Feeding Westchester’s mobile food pantry, Purchase’s food pantry has a limit to how much one student can take in one sitting.
The Office of Community Engagement began the campus food pantry after the serious realization of food insecurity issues here on campus. Since they opened Mario Rapetti, Assistant Dean of Student Life, has overseen this initiative and worked directly with Feeding Westchester to help keep the campus food pantry afloat.
As Rapetti leaves the Purchase community this semester he has assured the students that, “the food pantry does not leave with me.”
Horn, as well as others from the Office of Community Engagement will continue to work on keeping the pantry, which is not funded by SUNY or Purchase itself, open for all students.
The campus food pantry is open Mondays 12:30 to 4:30, Tuesdays 12:30 to 2:30, Wednesdays 11:00 to 1:00 and 2:00 to 5:00, and Fridays 2:00 to 5:00.