Benny’s Pantry opens at ISU-Meridian
November, 20, 2019
MERIDIAN—An estimated 48 percent of students attending U.S. colleges and universities are “food insecure”—meaning they don’t have enough food to eat or lack the money to consistently fill their cupboards, according to the National Student Campaign Against Hunger and Homelessness.
To battle food insecurity, Idaho State University has opened Benny’s Pantry in Meridian for students, faculty and staff. “Food insecurity can have a tremendous impact on students. We hope knowing they have a place to go can ease their stress,” said ISU Associate Vice President for Student Affairs Lowell Richards at a ribbon-cutting Nov. 18 to celebrate the official opening of Benny’s Pantry in Meridian.
The pantry is located in a cozy room on the first floor of the Skaggs Health Science Center. Shelves are stacked with nonperishable goods, including canned fruits and vegetables, pasta, cereal, nutrition bars, peanut butter and hygiene products. All items are free and shopping hours are Mondays from 3 to 6 p.m. and Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Madison Keller, a career path intern working on her master’s degree in nutrition, oversees the pantry’s daily operations.
Ali Crane, ISU-Meridian’s director of enrollment and student services, says several students from Meridian’s 900-member student body have already used the pantry since a soft opening last week.
“We want our students to be healthy and have the ability to be successful at Idaho State University,” she said, stressing that faculty and staff are welcome to use the pantry too.
ISU opened the first Benny’s Pantry in 2014 on the main campus in Pocatello. Stephanie Foreman, ISU’s student care and assistance coordinator, says the Pocatello pantry serves approximately 164 students a month with many students shopping twice a month. A Benny’s Pantry opened on the Idaho Falls campus in 2015.
All locations accept nonperishable food and cash donations. If you’d like to donate, contact Benny’s Pantry at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Graduate student Madison Keller will staff the pantry.