Montclair State University’s new food pantry, located on the first floor of the Student Center, opened on Monday, April 18 to help students who are low on food supply and require assistance.
Fatima deCarvalho, Associate Dean of Students, said that the food pantry’s opening was successful, and five students utilized its services. The pantry already helped some students, and she hopes it will help even more students as word gets out.
Since the announcement of the food pantry, there has been a great amount of donations made to its efforts. When asked if the opening exceeded her expectations, deCarvalho said, “I knew that Montclair State, our students and our faculty were generous. I didn’t expect for them to be so generous.”
Greek Life donated over 2,000 items to the pantry and raised over $200. The food pantry also received a $250 anonymous donation. University Advancement included the food pantry in its day of giving so that students and staff could donate directly towards the food pantry.
“While I expected it, I was overwhelmed by the generosity,” said deCarvalho.
The food pantry is seeking volunteers, as there are a lot of boxes of food which require sorting, checking of expiration dates and organizing so that the pantry will be ready to go for the fall.
“Our goal is — we started off with students, we hope to open it up to staff who are struggling as well,” said deCarvalho.
In the future, she would like to be able to provide seasonal items, like coats or hygiene products, and assist students who have families and need supplies such as diapers and formula.
“We are starting off small, but our hope is to be able to provide other items, and goods to our students and our staff,” said deCarvalho.
On behalf of the efforts, deCarvalho encouraged students and staff to spread the word about this project and, if they know anyone who is in need, to tell them about it. She strongly feels that the food pantry is a collective effort, and there is no way to achieve this alone.
Currently, the food pantry is being funded by both food and monetary donations. However, the goal is to connect with the New Jersey Community Food Bank, which will make it easier to get food. The overall hope is that as a community, people continue to donate throughout the year.
In the meantime, the food pantry will continue to fund-raise and hold food drives. They want people to be part of it, so if faculty, staff, and students want to volunteer or know someone who can benefit from the food pantry, she encouraged them to reach out.
The pantry will be opening again on May 4 and will open at least once a month during the summer. They will schedule anyone in need of food by appointment. The Montclair State food pantry should have a set schedule by the fall semester.