GV Replenish Food Pantry helps to combat food insecurity


GVL / Sydney Lim

Isabelle England, Staff Writer

When returning to campus after Thanksgiving, a holiday focused on food, some students may face a higher risk of food insecurity as holiday expenses rack up.

At GVSU, students struggling with food insecurity can turn to Replenish, an on-campus food pantry available to all students facing food insecurity while they attend the university.

The program has served anywhere from 180-280 students per month this year from August to November at its three locations: Kirkhof Center room 704 on the Allendale campus, Steelcase Library on the Pew Campus and the Cook-DeVos Center for Health Sciences room 347 on the downtown health campus. 

Lariesha Lee, Assistant Director in the Center for Women & Gender Equity, helps run Replenish. 

“More than 1,000 Grand Valley students struggle with food insecurity each year,” Lee said. “When students don’t have consistent access to enough quality food, it impacts them in the classroom and can derail their dream of earning a degree entirely.”

Students are welcome to shop in Replenish twice a month. The center is self-sustained by the GVSU campus community through donations. Replenish offers several services such as Laker Meal Share, Laker Laptop Loan Program and a program to help students find other community resources to fit their individual needs. 

In preparation for their care bag events, where bags of food and supplies are packed with items for students staying on campus during break, this Giving Tuesday, Nov. 29, Replenish will be opening its doors to students willing to donate. They are looking for non-perishable items and students with on-campus meal plans can donate a meal to a student in need. 

“This Giving Tuesday, November 29, the entire GVSU community is rallying around the Replenish Student Food Resource Fund to support students facing food insecurity,” Lee said. “As Lakers, we help each other. This Giving Tuesday is no different. Let’s make sure all Grand Valley students have the nourishment they need to succeed.”

As far as donations go for those who are able, $25 will cover the costs of two bags of groceries and $100 which serves up to eight students for two weeks. Replenish helped serve 287 students and 25 children in September alone.

Replenish will be accepting donations for their event on Nov. 29 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Kirkhof lounge. In addition to food items, they also accept personal care items such as soap, shampoo, conditioner, oral hygiene care, laundry detergent and toilet paper. The full list of non-perishables is available on their website.

“It’s a service opportunity, students and community members can also host donation drives for food and financial contributions to help Replenish sustain this resource and fight for food justice by taking part in activism of human rights,” Lee said.