GV Replenish assists students facing food insecurity


GVL Archives

Elizabeth Schanz, Staff Writer

Replenish is a food pantry at Grand Valley State University that works to combat food insecurity and help feed GVSU students. Due to many factors including the recent closures of many Campus Dining locations across the GVSU campus and the aftermath of economic struggles during COVID-19, Replenish has seen a spike in student use of the group’s food resources.

Food insecurity is a common issue for college students. When students are unable to fulfill their basic needs such as eating, this missing component creates many problems in the lives of students from academic performance to everyday life. 

GVSU Replenish aims to help students avoid this struggle by providing them with a variety of food. They offer produce, canned goods and other substantial items. 

“Being food insecure is a status that fluctuates, recognizing that financial hardships come and go, we are here to serve anyone who is facing long or short-term food insecurity,” Graduate assistant at the Center for Women and Gender Equity and Replenish, Kyle Holcomb said.

Additionally, many students whose daily meals come from dining on campus and lack the resources to obtain additional food have begun to face new challenges with the closure of many dining options on campus. 

“While we are not a replacement for dining halls, we will gladly help students whose access to food has been negatively impacted by the closures, especially if a student would go hungry otherwise,” Holcomb said. 

Replenish encourages individuals who are still able to access and afford resources to assess their own needs when using the center due to limited resources. Within a normal year Replenish expects to see anywhere between 90-120 visitors per month, Holcomb said.

“I found out about it [Replenish] from the woman who is the head of Women and Gender Studies,” Sophomore Sam Rahm said. “GVSU had sent out an email asking the freshman how they felt and to markdown what things they were having trouble with and I put food insecurity and she sent me there.”

Rahm said she had a very positive experience during her visit to Replenish. She said that the staff was very friendly, the facility was very convenient and it had a variety of goods to choose from to meet her needs. 

Other sources for students to both receive additional food services and to participate in helping their peers come through a program called Laker Meal share. Students with a GVSU meal plan are able to donate meal swipes each semester for others to use. These swipes give students access to campus dining locations along with the assistance they can receive from Replenish. 

With the new spike in students needing assistance, Replenish is requesting donations to help sustain the pantry. Individuals can donate perishable and non-perishable items to any of the Replenish locations including the Allendale location in Kirkhof 074, Steelcase Library at the DeVos campus, and the Cook DeVos Center for Health Science.