Campus-wide food drive provides ample donations

GVL/Luke Holmes

GVL/Luke Holmes

Katherine West

From Oct. 19 through Oct. 23, Grand Valley State University’s ReStore campus food pantry held a university-wide food drive. The Women’s Center runs the pantry, which provides food for any students who are in need.

Sharalle Arnold, Women’s Center associate director and director of ReStore, gave some insight into the overall success of the campus-wide food drive and the food pantry as a whole.

“We had a really positive response from all over campus,” Arnold said. “Items were picked up from Seidman and DeVos. We had different faculty and staff that participated. It was largely a success because it was campus wide and everyone really enjoyed participating in this effort and really wanted to support our students. We had people participating from the Holland Campus, the Pew Campus and the Allendale Campus. All of those were represented in the total collection.”

Overall, the drive was considered a success because of the generous contributions and participation from members of multiple GVSU campuses.

Although this drive was very impactful for the ReStore food pantry, the pantry distributes food to students in need on a daily basis. Donations are accepted throughout the year, not just during the food drives.

“Perishable items are something we are really interested in getting our arms around and how to implement the best practices in terms of soliciting those items and then being able to distribute them quickly enough so they don’t spoil,” Arnold said. “Having a refrigerator is a new component of ReStore. Now we have our ability to host perishable items. We just have to get better at trying to collect them and distribute them fast enough. If anyone wants to donate items, I would encourage them to consider some items that are perishable that we could refrigerate.”

Examples of perishable items that could be donated are meat, milk, cheese, fruits and vegetables. Examples of non-perishable items that are accepted include soap, shampoo, conditioner, oral hygiene items, laundry detergent, toilet paper, feminine hygiene products, juice, gluten free options, peanut butter, jelly, soup, crackers, cereal, granola bars, microwave popcorn, canned tuna and chicken, canned vegetables and fruit, pasta and rice.

ReStore has another event coming up on Dec. 2.

“That is going to be an awareness campaign event where we are trying to increase awareness amongst students that they have access to ReStore,” Arnold said. “We are reminding them where it is at, what it’s purpose is and how to utilize the service. Additionally, it is a way for us to encourage students and students and student organizations to get involved and use it as a service opportunity if they want to host a food drive, if they want to donate items, so we really try to do two things with this one tabling event.”

For those looking to volunteer or those struggling to make ends meet, the ReStore food pantry is located in Kirkhof Room 0074. It is open Monday through Thursday from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. and Friday from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.