Food pantry accommodates growth of students in need

By Heather Gursky
Assistant A&E Editor

In April 2015, an assessment was conducted shining a light on the large community of students with low income and little to no food access. After seeing the shocking results, The Food Pantry Committee on campus became partners with Friend, Inc., the local food pantry on Noble Street. Each Thursday of every month the pantry opens its doors to the students of KU; Student Involvement even gave rides to those who did not have transportation.

At the start of the 2016-17 school year, the Lutheran Church at 15175 Kutztown Road became a satellite location for Friend, Inc. The satellite’s doors first opened on Wednesday, Sept. 14 at 4 p.m. and have been open ever since.

“Since September, they have served over 150 different KU students. Their weekly visits so far this semester range from 35-40 students, with the number increasing by a few students each week,” said Leah Casellia, Director of Student Involvement, in a February 2017 KUnited post giving further information about the new pantry.

According to Kris Tuerk, mother of the pantry’s manager, the pantry had seen a spike with almost double the amount of students this school year. When asked about the numbers Tuerk said, “Two weeks ago [March 8] we had 150, you know, sometimes we only have 100.” She continued to say, “Last semester our top was 105-120, but when we started the academic year it was only 30.”

Since the student count has grown, so has the food, which is currently filling shelves within the waiting area in an effort to accommodate everyone. All of the food is provided by donations and the Berks County Food Bank. Even departments and offices, like Housing, have come in to provide snacks for the students waiting, as snacks are usually provided during the food pantry’s hours.

The student count consists of a mix of those living on and off campus. “The pantry gives students the opportunity to get a wide array of nutrition,” one student said. Another commented that the pantry has helped them save money they can put toward important things, like their phone and electricity bills.

Categories: News