Grand Valley State University Women's Center
Frequently Asked Questions About the Student Food Pantry
How do I access the Student Food Pantry?
Beginning April 6, 2009, the food pantry can be accessed during Women's Center hours. The Women's Center is open from 8am-5pm, Monday through Friday. Students are allowed to self-refer, or may be referred by campus departments. Students must present their Student ID or other proof that they are a GVSU student in order to receive food. Once a student presents to the Women's Center, he or she will be able to fill up one grocery bag with various non-perishable items. Students are encouraged to bring their own grocery bag or to reuse the grocery bag they are given upon their first visit to the pantry. (Note: Depending on the demand for the pantry, set distribution times may be established in the future.)
How do I make referrals to the Student Food Pantry?
Faculty and staff are encouraged to refer students who express a need that can be minimized by accessing the Student Food Pantry. Faculty and staff should encourage students to come in during the Women's Center operating hours and indicate who referred them to the pantry. Please contact the Women's Center at 616.331.2748 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions about this process.
Will I need to prove that I am eligible to access the pantry?
The Student Food Pantry does not require any documentation of need. The Student Food Pantry operates on the honor system. Students will be asked to fill out a brief intake form with basic information, but it is not necessary to prove eligibility. The intake form provides the Women's Center with valuable data which will enhance our ability to attract support for the food pantry.
How many times can I access the pantry?
Due to increased demand, we are no longer able to provide access to the pantry on an unlimited basis. Students in need are welcome to visit the food pantry twice per month and once per month for current bridge card recipients.
Why does GVSU need a food pantry for students?
Many students have voiced concern to various faculty and staff members on campus regarding their economic situation. Obtaining an adequate food supply is often a major component of the financial stress that students bear. A GVSU staff member who works directly with students had the following to say about the need for an on-campus food pantry, "On a near daily basis, I witness college students who are scrounging for free food... I have often wondered how these GVSU college students are able to make it out there and what they do when they are hungry and go back to empty or near empty cupboards." Another GVSU staff member that also provides direct service to students stated, "Helping Grand Valley's neediest with the cost of food would allow those students to focus their time, money, and energy upon more academic pursuits."
Research exists that shows a relationship between inadequate nutrition and decreased academic performance. An article by Wolfe, Burkman, and Streng (2000) describes the problem in the following manner, "Although we in the U.S. don't see the starvation situation found in developing countries, we do grapple with transient hunger and meal skipping. Without an adequate daily refueling of nutrients from food, the body places learning behind its need to sustain life-support functions" (pp. 55).
While there are community resources available, it may be difficult to access them due to transportation. Also, sometimes community food resources are not able to accommodate students based on their eligibility guidelines. By bringing a food supply to the GVSU campus, it eliminates some of the barriers students may face when accessing outside sources.
Other universities have established on-campus food programs and have experienced great success. To read more, please click here.
Who are the campus partners for this project?
The campus partners for this project include the Grand Valley State University Student Academic Success Center, Campus Dining, Community Service Learning Center, Counseling and Career Development Center, Dean of Students, Educational Support Program, Financial Aid, Housing and Residence Life, Hunger and Homelessness Student Organization, Office of Inclusion and Equity, Office of Multicultural Affairs, TRIO, & the University Bookstore. All of these campus departments are committed to the success of the Student Food Pantry.
How can I donate to the food pantry?
Donations are accepted at the Women's Center during open hours. If you would prefer for someone to pick up your donation, please contact the Women's Center at 616.331.2748 or email@example.com. Donations may be in the form of non-perishable food items, gift cards to local grocery stores, or a monetary donation. Donations are tax-deductible and the donor will be provided with a receipt from University Development reflecting their contribution.
I am trying to decide what to donate. What donations are most needed at the pantry?
Some of the items that are most popular include laundry detergent, full-sized toiletries, pasta sauce, cereal, peanut butter, canned chicken/tuna, pasta, soup, granola bars, and paper products.
Wolfe, P., Burkman, M.A., & Streng, K. (2000). The Science of Nutrition. Educational Leadership, 57, 54-59.
Page last modified June 4, 2012