“It’s all donation funded,” said Alicia Fox, director of the nutrition education program under Marshall University’s Research Corporation which is affiliated with Marshall University’s Department of Dietetics.
Tuesday was the first day for the food pantry near Huntington’s Pullman Square.
To start, it will be open from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesdays and from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Thursdays.
“As we have the pantry and we see the traffic trends, then we’re going to hopefully open up the hours more. It’s just going to be based upon need,” Fox said. “But if someone needs food and we’re closed and they call us and say, ‘help,’ we’re here and we can help them.”
Many college students are living with daily food insecurity.
In October 2016, the National Student Campaign against Hunger and Homelessness reported food insecurity, meaning the lack of reliable access to sufficient quantities of affordable, nutritious food, for nearly half of college students surveyed.
“They kind of tend to fall in this gap because we think if you can afford to go to college you can afford your food, but that’s not always the case,” Fox told MetroNews.
“Especially now, you have a lot more nontraditional students, students paying for their own education, not necessarily funded by family members, and sometimes the loans are maxed out, they can’t get any more food, so there is a definite need.”
The previous Marshall food pantry was located in the basement of Marshall’s Memorial Student Center.
“One of the problems they found was the accessibility and then also the fact that students had to go into the Student Center and then come out with a bag of food and, for some, that could be very intimidating or embarrassing,” Fox said.
The new pantry is in Downtown Huntington at 907 Third Avenue, the location of the Department of Dietetics, and can be reached via free campus shuttles.
Those who use the pantry will be asked to sign in, but no formal documentation or identification is required.
Monetary and food donations are needed to keep the pantry stocked with nonperishable food items.
For more information on how to make a donation, contact Fox at firstname.lastname@example.org or Kelli Williams, chair of Marshall’s Department of Dietetics, at email@example.com.
The Marshall food pantry can be reached by phone at 304-696-4629.