Serving more students

GVL / Courtesy - Irada Choudhuri 
Resident Assistants food drive

GVL / Courtesy – Irada Choudhuri Resident Assistant’s food drive

Drew Howard

After six years of operation, the student food pantry has now been given both a new title and location on Grand Valley State University’s Allendale Campus.

ReStore, the new name for the student food pantry, is a facility open to anyone with a GVSU ID who is in need of food during financially stressful times.

Sharalle Arnold, in charge of oversight and management of Restore, said one of the primary reasons why the facility moved out of its previous location in the Women’s Center was for more room.

“We were originally housed in the break room that was shared between the Office of Multicultural Affairs and the Women’s Center, so it was much smaller,” Arnold said. “With more space we can house more donations. We wanted to move to a location where we could primarily focus on supporting our students.”

ReStore can now be found on the lower level of the Kirkhof Center in Room 0074.

In the decision to relocate ReStore, Arnold said it was important to move out of the Women’s Center in order to reach more students.

“When we were in the Women’s Center, there was the situation where students who weren’t female felt they could not come in because it wasn’t a space designated for them,” Arnold said. “We hope to increase the students that participate in using ReStore no matter what gender they identify with.”

While ReStore is hoping to meet the short-term needs of students, faculty and staff on campus, Arnold said there is a larger goal in mind as well.

“ReStore is hoping to provide an immediate resource, but we are also looking at an opportunity to support food justice,” Arnold said. “Food justice is social justice. We want to continue to provide education and outreach on this so that we grow awareness and address the systemic issue of food insecurity.”

Kanyn Doan, student employee at ReStore, said the change of space makes a big difference in terms of storage.

“With the new space we now have shelves for personal care items, whereas before all those items were stored in a box,” Doan said. “We also have a new refrigerator that has the potential to store any produce we get.”

Doan said she strongly suggests those in need of help to visit ReStore despite the stigma that some might attach with it.

“A lot of people don’t want to face the fact that they need to utilize spaces like these, but we’re trying to work around that and say that it’s OK,” Doan said. “This is a very safe and judgment-free environment. ReStore is here because people need it, so students in need should not feel like they’re the only one.”

Students, faculty and staff members looking to support the facility are encouraged to donate food and personal care items to either ReStore or the Women’s Center during business hours.

Cash donations are also welcome and can be directed toward the Women’s Center.

Strongly encouraged donations include soup, vegetables, rice, fruit, juice, pasta, cereal, chicken, feminine hygiene products, laundry detergent, paper products and Campus Dining gift cards, among others.

Hours of operation for ReStore are Monday through Thursday, 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Fridays.

To reach ReStore after hours, call (616) 331-STOR.