ASPSU feeds hungry students

Written by | October 30, 2012

Food drive donations needed to stock pantry shelves

A food drive benefiting the Associated Students of Portland State University’s Student Pantry will be held through Nov. 12 in collaboration with ASPSU and the University Studies program. The pantry, located in Smith Memorial Student Union, room 325, is open to all students—no questions asked.

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Anthony Stine, communications director for ASPSU, logs donated food given by students, faculty and staff at PSU.

This term, the need is dire, organizers said.

“We are constantly asking for food, asking for volunteers, and right now, especially this term, the need has far outweighed what we’ve been able to bring in,” ASPSU Operations Director Amber Kelsall, one of the
drive’s organizers, said.

The plan for the event came together between Kelsall and University Studies Retention Project program assistant
Erika Schnatz.

“My main goal this year is to increase student retention, so, obviously, having food is a major part of being able to be at school and be successful,” Schnatz, a member of AmeriCorps, said.

The plan is to fill the pantry’s shelves and create a back stock for the future, Kelsall said.

“Our goal is to have more food than is needed,” Kelsall said. “The pantry runs entirely off of donations…we have absolutely zero budget for it.”

According to Kelsall, residents of King Albert Residence Hall have been collecting donations, and ASPSU officers have coordinated efforts at Stratford and Blackstone residence halls. While there have been talks to team up with Campus Housing for a campus-wide drive, it didn’t come together.

Kelsall said she would like to see more student groups involved, since multiple groups can accomplish more.

Campus fraternities have announced that they will be holding a monthly food drive, also to benefit the ASPSU Student Pantry. While still in the early stages of development, Kappa Sigma fraternity member and ASPSU Senator Maxwell Milligan is hopeful that the monthly drives will be a success.

“Philanthropy is a huge part of our [Kappa Sigma’s] mission statement,” Milligan said. “When I saw that the food pantry desperately needed more food, I thought we could do more service work for it.”

According to Milligan, many of the other Greek life houses on campus have also expressed interest in a monthly food drive.

The pantry needs donations of high nutritional quality that can help students stay focused on their studies and stay enrolled long enough to graduate.

There is also, sometimes, a population of homeless students, and the pantry tries to keep in mind the fact that some students will not have access to a can opener, organizers said. Pop-top and easily edible foods that are high in nutritional value, such as the Campbell’s Chunky Soups that are loaded with potatoes and meats, are always appreciated donations.

Organizers request rice and ethnic foods and sauces for meats and pastas, all popular items that aren’t commonly donated.

Hygiene items can also be donated and are greatly appreciated. Toilet paper, shampoo, conditioner and toothpaste in travel sizes are especially helpful for students, as they are easier to carry around.

Collection bins for food can be found in the University Studies office in Cramer Hall, room 117. Students enrolled in Peer Mentor sessions can also give food to their mentors to donate. The ASPSU Student Pantry takes donations throughout the year. There are bins at the pantry, or right outside the ASPSU office in SMSU 117.

The pantry is open Monday through Friday from noon to 2 p.m. When volunteers are available, additional hours are added. The schedule for the extra hours is posted just outside the door of the ASPSU office and in the ASPSU binder located in the pantry.

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