The Northern Michigan University Food Pantry, an ASNMU-led initiative to assist the campus community, will be open for the first time from 4-7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 15, in room 101B of Gries Hall. The university’s Food Insecurity Committee oversees the pantry.
“One of the goals of the Food Insecurity Committee and the food pantry is to say it’s okay to ask for help,” said ASNMU vice president Connor Loftus. “I typically prefer to call what we do assistance. I prefer that because, for many people using it, the food pantry is a temporary thing until they have the means to get by on their own. We hope to assist them with that by providing them with food which hopefully gives them one less thing to worry about for the time being.”
Non-perishable food and hygiene products from the pantry will be available to any NMU students, faculty and staff in need. Its regular hours will be from 4-7 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays and 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturdays.
Its supplies are donation-based and volunteers staff the pantry. Donations can be dropped off during its regular hours.
ASNMU determined a need for the food pantry as a result of a campus-wide survey.
“I think the survey results were pretty clear in showing there is a need for a food pantry on campus. The 39 percent of people that said they have gone hungry because they could not afford food is who this pantry is really for. In the average class size of about 24, that's 9-10 people who haven't been able to afford food at some point and went hungry. I think everyone can agree those kinds of numbers are unacceptable. We hope the food pantry will bring that number to zero percent.”
Loftus said that ASNMU will continue to seek donations as well as possible grants to help sustain the pantry.
As part of “Food 4 Fines,” Public Safety will exchange parking fine reductions of up to $25 for non-perishable food donations through Thursday, Nov. 16. They can be dropped off from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday at public safety parking services. Public Safety will also accept donations in Jamrich Hall from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday, Nov. 13, through Thursday, Nov. 16, and as part of NMU’s participation in Giving Tuesday on Nov. 28.
ASNMU hopes to host a grand opening at the beginning of the winter semester. Details are yet to be determined.