Pantry addresses need
Published 3:24 pm Tuesday, November 27, 2018
Students at Longwood University facing the end of the semester will have to worry less about accessing necessities thanks to a partnership between a student ministry and the Longwood student government association.
The two student organizations joined forces to open a student pantry, located at the Wesley Campus Ministries building at 204 High St., located adjacent to Farmville United Methodist Church.
The pantry, called Elwood’s Cabinet, held a grand opening Nov. 14. The pantry is open every Monday from 6-9:30 p.m.
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Students can show their student ID card and can receive ready-made meals, canned goods, breakfast foods and hygiene products such as deodorant, toothpaste and shampoo.
Justin Hicks, director of Wesley Campus Ministry, said many would not associate food insecurity with college students, but he said college students are among the fastest growing demographics facing food insecurity in the United States.
Food insecurity is defined as those who do not receive necessary nutrition or face uncertainty about where and how they will receive their next meals.
FeedMore, an organization based in Richmond that supports the FACES Food Pantry in Farmville and the Delma’s Pantry food bank in Cumberland, cited on its website that one in seven Central Virginian residents is food insecure, “meaning that nearly 200,000 of our neighbors are not receiving the necessary nutrition. And of that, more than 53,000 children, or 1 in 6, in Central Virginia do not know when or from where they will receive their next meal.”
Hicks said particularly at the end of the semester as students’ meal plans dwindle and as students are facing expenses related to rent and classes, it’s becoming increasingly common for students to address those expenses at the cost of paying for food or other necessities.
The face of the traditional student is also changing, according to the Elwood’s Closet website.
“What has long been termed the ‘nontraditional’ student is fast becoming the average college student,” the website cited. “Many students are now supporting families and working full-time while attending college. These students are often food insecure or one missed paycheck away from being food insecure. Additionally, as college costs have risen and wages for the vast majority of workers have remained constant or decreased more ‘traditional’ college students are facing the prospects of less support from home. These students can be food insecure too. Food insecurity cuts across all demographic statuses, enrollment levels and geographic locations.”
“We’re really excited that this is here now for the students,” Hicks said.
By letting students choose for themselves what they need, Hicks said this can reduce the stigma associated with food pantries and give students the dignity to decide what they need most.
Members of the community can donate to the food pantry. To learn more about what can be donated to the pantry, visit https://elwoodscabinet.weebly.com or call (434) 392-8089.