By Laura Blanco
The Barry University Food Pantry opened in July as an initiative to combat food insecurity among students.
Karen Stalnaker, director of campus ministry, collaborated with Dr. Victor Romano, associate provost for student success and undergraduate studies, to create a place for students to access basic needs and food.
“Dr. Victor Romano and I began talking about the very real challenges many students face trying to achieve academic success while trying to meet very basic needs, like food insecurity,” said Stalnaker.
According to Stalnaker, research shows that food insecurity is prevalent on college campuses.
After over a year of collaboration, the pair partnered with Feeding South Florida, a food bank that partners with local organizations to end hunger in the community.
Stalnaker’s inspiration in creating the food pantry was to meet the needs of college students.
“If students are going to survive, they have to thrive,” said Stalnaker. “Part of that, for student success, is really being able to have your needs met.”
Barry understands that needs are different for everyone, so there are a variety of free food items available at the pantry. Each week, they get different items in stock from Feeding South Florida such as produce, toiletry items, and dry foods.
When coming to the food pantry, the only step students need to take before picking their items is filling out an intake form from Feeding South Florida to provide some basic background information.
Stalnaker hopes the food pantry will destigmatize the need for free food access within Barry and beyond.
“We need to destigmatize food pantries and people who go to food pantries. That’s one thing that we just want to move away from. No one knows anyone else’s needs,” said Stalnaker.
This began with the training that several Barry staff members took with Feeding South Florida. During this training, Stalnaker learned about what social justice is, one of Barry’s core commitments.
“At Barry University, we are driven by our core commitments, [one of] which is social justice. This is definitely a university initiative that stands on and rests on our core commitments,” said Stalnaker.
The vision of the Adrian Dominican Sisters guide everything that Campus Ministry does to advance Barry’s mission.
To get involved at the Food Pantry, students can volunteer and donate items. To volunteer, students can use this form.
During October, students can donate:
-Hygiene products -Body wash -Razors
-Deodorant -Toothpaste -Feminine hygiene products -Food products -Macaroni and Cheese (microwavable) -Cup of Noodle Soups or Ramen (microwaveable)
-Snack Bars (granola, Cliff, protein)
-Peanut Butter (individual portions)
-Rice (microwaveable) -Pasta sauce
Students can fill out this form to let the food pantry volunteers know they will be coming to pick up items in Thompson Hall Room 228. Food pantry hours will be posted weekly on @bucampusministry on Instagram.