Seniors Roderick Gladney and Amber Majors are working to alleviate hunger on campus by starting a food pantry called Carolina Cupboard.
The pantry’s kickoff week will be Oct. 20 to 24 and will include opportunities for students to learn about food poverty in the college setting.
“It’s an issue regardless of whether people know about it or not,” Gladney said.
The pantry will be in the basement of Avery Residence Hall and officially opens Oct. 24.
Gladney reached out to Majors with the idea because of her experience with social justice issues, especially food security.
“Food security is basically — in the sense of Carolina Cupboard in particular — the sense that everyone feels they have enough to eat throughout the day and that they’re not maybe going to class hungry or going to sleep hungry,” Majors said.
In the 2013-14 academic year, about 60 students qualified to receive aid from the University’s emergency fund, which gives up to $500 to those who are in desperate need, Gladney said.
“I know I had some classmates that actually applied for food stamps because even with their scholarships, they couldn’t afford a meal plan,” said junior Ashlee Hicks.
Rachel Smith, director of The Gamecock Pantry at the University of South Carolina, said it has served 120 students since it opened in fall 2013.
Majors said she does not want discomfort to keep people from utilizing Carolina Cupboard. Recipients are not required to show their UNC One Card. They only need to give their PID to ensure they are part of the campus community.
“It’s just to help people be more confidential and also just to make people feel more comfortable,” she said.
“We just feel that, in a nutshell, if the community as a whole, the Carolina community as a whole, is more aware of food insecurity and what that means, we feel it will take more of the stigma away, and it will make more people comfortable with coming to the pantry,” she said.
Campus awareness is crucial to the success of Carolina Cupboard. The Cupboard executive board is in the process of applying for grants from Student Congress and the Campus Y, but they are primarily relying on donations to supply the food.
People can drop off food donations in a bin in the Union near the entrance to the Great Hall. Majors said they hope to have bins in both libraries and the dining halls by the end of the semester.
“Food should be the last thing (students) have to worry about when it comes to UNC,” Gladney said. “If anything, it should be how hard their chemistry class is, or genetics or how hard economics is.”