Food Pantry donations

The Illinois State University school food pantry located right outside the Bone Student Center collects food and basic supplies for students in need.

The School Street Food Pantry at First United Methodist Church is holding a food drive, but this time, it’s not at the church — it’s at the Alamo II.

The food drive at the Alamo II will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. from Monday to Friday and 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The food drive will run from April 29 to May 12.

The Alamo II college campus store is lending space and tables to the food pantry in order to support the cause. Normally, the food drive is located directly at the church, but the store owners felt that they could help contribute to the food drive by providing students with a closer location to drop items off at.

Food pantry board member Kerri Calvert said the Alamo II took initiative by contacting the pantry.

“The Alamo II approached us,” Calvert said. “They said they heard that a lot of food gets dumped every year and they’d like that to not happen, so they’d be happy to help support the effort to reduce that waste. They’re providing the table and allowing us to let people bring items there to be collected.”

The difference between the upcoming food drive and past ones is only the location.

“Our idea was, and Alamo II is supporting the effort, is to provide a place where people can bring canned or boxed food or hygiene items. A twelve-pack of toilet paper that you don’t want to take home, you can bring it to the Alamo collection site, and then we’ll make sure that the items get to the pantry.”

Calvert added that she sees plenty of waste occur around the end of the semester, a problem the food drive aims to address.

“As students are moving away, typically home for the summer, a lot of food just gets tossed in the dumpster because people don’t want to mess with it,” she said.

The food pantry opened September of last year to address the growing problem of students going without food.

“There had been some research done by the Student Government Association where they conducted a survey regarding the issue,” Calvert said. “Last spring, some other students conducted research and found that there is a need for the food pantry.”

The food pantry was made possible by a collective effort from students looking to improve the well-being of their community and a church with the space needed to achieve that goal.

“Students were looking for a social justice project related to the issues they faced, and the church had a space that was available, so it all came together at the same time,” Calvert said.

Calvert said that the food pantry serves between 120 and 140 students a week.

While bringing canned or boxed goods is a guaranteed way to help the food pantry, Calvert said there are other ways to support the cause.

“Students could certainly help volunteer,” she said. “We have links on the website for that. Another way that students could help is by letting other students know about the food pantry. One of the biggest factors affecting the food pantry is that students aren’t aware that it exists.”

In order to receive food from the pantry, students only need to bring their student ID with them.

“Students simply need to show their school ID,” she said. “After that, it’s a free-choice pantry, so students are given a container and they can fill it with whatever they want to fill it with.”

MIKE SMITH is a News Reporter for The Vidette. He can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @Agora_180

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