Pantry Opens to Help Students in Need

Last fall, SUNY Oswego opened a pantry with food, toiletries and winter clothing to meet a need among college

MEETING NEEDS — Shown with some of the nonperishable foods available to SUNY Oswego students in need at the new Students Helping Oz Peers (S.H.O.P.) pantry are volunteers Amanda Sehres ’16 M’17 (left), a school counseling major and a graduate assistant student coordinator of the project, and Rachel McGriff ’14 M’17, a graduate assistant at the Counseling Services Center and a mental health counseling major. The pantry opened in Room 3 in Penfield Library’s basement in October and offers food, toiletries and winter clothing to students in need.

MEETING NEEDS — Shown with some of the nonperishable
foods available to SUNY Oswego students
in need at the new Students Helping Oz Peers (S.H.O.P.)
pantry are volunteers Amanda Sehres ’16 M’17 (left),
a school counseling major and a graduate assistant
student coordinator of the project, and Rachel McGriff
’14 M’17, a graduate assistant at the Counseling Services
Center and a mental health counseling major. The
pantry opened in Room 3 in Penfield Library’s basement
in October and offers food, toiletries and winter clothing
to students in need.

students who sometimes lack these necessities. The Students Helping Oz Peers project — or S.H.O.P. for short — opened its pantry in October in Room 3 in Penfield Library’s basement.

“Food insecurity issues affect students at colleges and universities everywhere,” Dean of Students Jerri Howland said. An October 2016 report by the National Student Campaign Against Hunger and Homelessness found 20 percent of students at four-year schools across the nation qualified as having very low food security, with 48 percent of respondents reporting food insecurity in the previous 30 days.

Some students report they must choose between eating enough and buying books, Howland explained, and some on meal plans choose the lowest-cost plan, though they may need more food. “When you have to make a choice between buying books and food, well, we don’t want students to have to make that choice,” she said. “Most of the time you suffer in silence until a peer or a staff member identifies there’s a need.”

Nearly $4,000 was raised to seed the pantry, including $3,194.79 through Student Association’s Miss-A-Meal fundraiser, $710 from the Oswego College Foundation Inc. and an additional $15 donation from a department. “We are excited about those gifts, and we’ve started an account,” Howland said.

Oswego worked with the College and University Food Bank Alliance, which offers a campus pantry toolkit. While non-perishable foods, clothing and toiletries have been gathered, donations of more are welcome, and monetary donations also are appreciated. Those with questions about using the pantry or looking to donate can email shop@oswego.edu or visit alumni.oswego.edu/givenow.

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