UM-Flint’s Food Pantry Provides Help for Students in Need

Will Stuart, Writer

For many college students across the country, money is tight, and those at UM-Flint are no exception. With a large non-traditional student population, many people here have to juggle their time between being a full-time student, full-time worker and even a parent.  

For students like this and many more, the idea of a fridge full of food is just that: an idea.

To help those who face these challenges, UM-Flint’s food pantry began operation this academic year, open weekdays from 1-4 p.m. Taking up residence in the Loft next to The Michigan Times Office, the pantry aims to provide food to those who need it most.

“Students who created the proposal were very clear that they wanted the food pantry to be hidden but in plain sight. So easily accessible to students, but a place where students can feel comfortable,” said Dean of Students Dr. Julie Snyder, who has been helping with its establishment.

Students from the Phi Alpha Social Work Honor Society, Social Work Club and Future Urban & Environmental Leaders came up with the idea for the food pantry roughly three years ago. They took the idea and presented it for funding at the University of Michigan’s Bicentennial Office’s anniversary celebration.

At the event, grants were given to projects that promised to continue celebrating, understanding and improving the university. Here, the pantry was awarded a grant totaling $11,182.

It is currently run by the Social Work Department with help from the Department of Student Involvement and Leadership, with all food being purchased directly from the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan.

To use the food pantry, students must first fill out an intake form through Mgagement in order to ensure proper reporting. After that, they can come as many times as they need to. As of right now, there’s no restriction on how much food can be taken.

“We’ve had customers every day the food pantry has been open, so I think we’re meeting the need,” said Snyder.

As far as what the future holds for the pantry, Snyder said expanding it in terms of space, hours and volunteers is dependent on the need from students.

“Our hope is to, with the new intern that will start in August, be prepared for the fall to really get the word out and increase exposure.”

At 11 a.m on Tuesday, Apr. 16, there will be a dedication to announce the official name and logo of the pantry in the Loft.