Since the Wolverine Food Den’s opening, Student Government has worked on securing funding and increasing awareness about food insecurity on campus.
According to a UM-Flint newsletter, 60 percent of UM-Flint students have experienced food insecurity and 38 percent reported lacking basic food needs. Because of this, The Wolverine Food Den was created in an attempt to alleviate some of the food shortages faced by students.
Since the Food Den’s opening, there have been over 600 visits made from a collective of 185 people. In the fall of 2019, 491 visits were made by 123 people. Students in need of food are relying on the Food Den, shown by their recurring visits, proving just how important this resource is on campus.
“I think the Wolverine Food Den has been a tremendous, positive impact on UM-Flint by assisting those students who struggle with food insecurity,” said Associate Vice Chancellor and Dean of Students Julie Snyder. “As the Den grows we hope it will continue to be a source of support for our students as they work toward graduation.”
Working with the Office of Alumni Relations and University Advancement, Student Government (under the Bhardwaj-Odira administration) created a campaign to raise money for the newly-implemented Food Den.
“Essentially, SG volunteered for this important cause. 100% of SG’s members donated towards the cause,” said Student Government President Nickxit Bhardwaj.
Through Giving Blueday, the University of Michigan’s special day of giving, Student Government was able to raise enough money to support the food pantry for the next two years.
“I thank all the students, staff, faculty, alumni and others who joined in supporting a great cause making this campaign within the top 5 in the entire University of Michigan system on Giving Blueday,” said Bhardwaj. “ … We are a few short from our goal of $15,000 apx needed to sustain the pantry for 3 years.”
To help students in need, Student Government encourages those who can to donate in order to keep the Food Den available on campus.
While the Wolverine Food Den is still searching for funds, Bhardwaj and members of Student Government are committed to helping students on campus who are having trouble affording food.
“While I am proud of the efforts of SG leadership, it is not really great to hear that students go hungry on our campus because they can not afford food which is a basic human right,” said Bhardwaj. “I can not say much about what future SG administrations will plan to do with food pantry but SG for my administration will be committed to help increase the impact of a food pantry on our campus community.”
Snyder also said, “We are currently evaluating usage data to help us determine future plans. The Wolverine Food Den Steering Committee, which is comprised of students, will be the central group to propose the strategic direction of the pantry.”
In the future, Bhardwaj would like to see the Food Den expand beyond just food and toiletries: “I would like to see the pantry grow into health & wellness as well as sexual hygiene products as well.”
The Wolverine Food Den is located on the third floor Loft of the UCEN. For hours of operation visit UM-Flint’s food pantry homepage.
If you are in need of food resources or have concerns, you can contact the food den at [email protected].