By Samantha Holmes
KU’s In the Light Lutheran Campus Ministry opened a student food pantry at the Lutheran Center on Sept. 14 to provide financially struggling students with meals and snacks every Wednesday from 4-6 p.m.
The group teamed up with Friend, Inc. Community Service, Student Involvement and Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church for this opportunity. According to Alicia Hornberger, communications chair of In the Light, the program’s goal is to aid young people while providing a welcoming environment.
“There is a large portion of students that attend Kutztown, here, that have food insecurities. We have a decent size population of homeless students and I honestly don’t know where they go at the end of the day, but those people are struggling for just a meal everyday when they need it,” Hornberger said. With enough problems for students to worry about during the semester, the campus ministry group wanted them to feel secure knowing their next meal will always be available.
The idea for the student food pantry came from Deb Rohrbach, who works with Kutztown Community Partnership and Friend, Inc. Once a month Friend, Inc. organized a trip from campus to their building’s food pantry next to Renninger’s Market. Through the new campus pantry, Rohrbach wanted to guarantee an easier way for students to receive food every week.
In creating the new pantry space, Rohrbach strived to get college student-friendly goods. A variety of dried and fresh options are available. Little to no preparation meals include cereal, peanut butter and jellies and mac and cheese. For students who enjoy cooking, a selection of spices, condiments and meats are available.
All students are welcome to fill two maroon KU logo bags (university donations) and then bring them back to be reused during each week.
The food comes from the Greater Berks Food Bank. The ministry pays $50 for each supply bundle. As the supply dwindles, the group can pay an additional $2 for individual boxes of specific goods. The Lutheran Center’s pantry also takes donations of unopened, unexpired goods.
The food pantry is located at the Lutheran Center at the Westwood House. Students can follow the stairs from Main Street up to the patio, and the entrance to the food pantry is through the middle door. On Wednesdays, there are signs to follow.
Students who visit are required to show their student ID and when visiting for the first time, have to fill out a form including their name, contact information and income status. The forms are sent to Friend, Inc, who sends them to the Greater Berks Food Bank to keep a record of the amount of people and the demand for supplies.
The goal of providing a safe environment is important to In the Light Campus Ministry. A free dinner is offered to anyone visiting the Lutheran Center every Wednesday at 6 p.m. following food pantry hours. The double doors leading from the pantry space are open to the living room where the ministry welcomes people to the access of television, shelter and fellowship.
As the campus food pantry continues, the ministry hopes to create weekly recipe cards for students to add to their bags of groceries.