Managers of a campus food pantry are asking for donations to help feed students and faculty who don't have enough money to buy food.
James Wirth manages the Utah State University Student Nutrition Access Center, or SNAC, pantry. During a typical school year the volunteers work to gather as much as 38,000 pounds of food used to provide meals for up to 1,600 students. Wirth helps coordinate volunteers who gather and sort food items from community farms, campus food services, and local businesses.
“And then we also recover a lot of the left-over food from Dining Services on campus,” Wirth said. “So we have been able to recover about 130,000 lbs. of food over the last 5 years from going to waste.”
Food insecurity happens when students, faculty or staff are unable to access affordable, nutritious food. Wirth has seen an increase in the number of students, faculty, and USU employees using the service since USU closed the Logan campus to classes in March.
“There is a lot of student, faculty and staff that don’t have the economic means to make a giant unprepared move half way through the semester,” Wirth said. “So there are a lot people without jobs connected to the university still in the Logan area.”
Unsure of what to expect in Fall 2020, SNAC organizers are preparing now for a possible increase in demands for food should USU hold classes on campus. They are fundraising to hire more student staff and to begin a food insecurity public education campaign.
Wirth says the SNAC program depends on volunteers to recover food from several locations on and off-campus, sort donations, and operate the pantry.