The phrase "for students, by students" perfectly captures both the purpose and origin of UM-Flint's new food pantry, whose opening was announced on campus, Tuesday, April 16. Just over three years in the making, the new Wolverine Food Den Campus Pantry now serves any registered students affected by food insecurity.
"This is an amazing achievement," said Chancellor Susan E. Borrego. "Students had an idea and didn't give up. When they were told no or that funding was light, they followed through. We know students suffer from a lack of food; this food pantry can help ease the food insecurities that some of our students face."
In 2015, students from UM-Flint's social work program were inspired to address this issue, which affects so many college students (a recent Department of Social Work campus survey indicated 58 percent of respondents skipped meals due to the availability of food sometimes, often, or all the time, while 38 percent reported lacking basic food needs).
Since that time, more than 30 students have worked on this project. These students successfully secured grants from the Ann Arbor campus and the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan, while also establishing key partnerships that will sustain operations of the new student pantry.
The Wolverine Food Den, which receives its supplies from the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan, will be open 16 hours a week during the fall and winter semesters, having soft opened a few weeks prior to its announcement. Hours will be adjusted based on student needs. Students from the Department of Social Work and the Department of Student Involvement and Leadership will coordinate volunteers and food distribution.
UM-Flint social work graduate Dominique Nunn was one of the original students behind this effort and was at the announcement to share her joy in its opening.
"I'm feeling really good and I'm glad that this is up and running," said Nunn. "It's just beautiful. I'm glad to see it come to fruition."
Donations for the new Wolverine Food Den student food pantry can be made through UM-Flint's University Advancement office.