As a way to assist those in the Donnelly community who have food insecurity, the Donnelly College Campus Cupboard opened its doors on Tuesday, Aug. 22.
“That’s what this food pantry is about – helping each other out so that each of us can flourish here and fulfill our vocation as students, faculty and staff, “said Donnelly College President Monsignor Swetland, during his blessing of the food pantry.
In the first three hours the Campus Cupboard was opened, there were 15 individuals who visited the pantry and took items they needed.
“One of the students I know, really needed the food and was so glad to get it,” said Sister Sharon Hamsa, Donnelly math tutor and adjunct. She is the reason we are doing this.”
The project began in the spring when Hamsa heard concerning comments from the Donnelly community.
“I kept hearing that our students are hungry,” she said.
That’s when Hamsa decided to do something about it.
“I remembered that a couple of years ago, watching a show on “60 Minutes” and it was showing some college in the East that had a food pantry for their students and I thought that was really interesting,” she said.
After visiting local colleges and universities like the University of Missouri – Kansas City and Metropolitan Community College – Penn Valley, Hamsa realized that most institutions have a food pantry on campus.
“This is not new - this is something that almost all schools do now,” she said. “We thought if anybody needs it, our students need it.”
Earlier this year, Hamsa launched a survey for Donnelly students to determine the level of food insecurity faced by those on campus.
“It was a large percentage,” she said. “We felt our students needed something like this because it’s hard to study and concentrate if your stomach is growling and you don’t have food and you’re worried about other things.”
But it’s not just for the students.
“It’s for any of the Donnelly family – faculty, staff and students,” Hamsa said. “I’m hoping that people at Donnelly think of this as theirs – this is Donnelly cupboard. This is our project –together.”
The Donnelly College Campus Cupboard is open on Tuesdays from 1-4 p.m. and on Fridays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the lower level, room 02.
By showing their Donnelly ID, students, faculty and staff can pick up items from the food pantry once a week, including canned goods, fresh produce, toiletries and office supplies.
The Donnelly College Campus Cupboard would not be possible without the generosity of the $1,500 startup grant from Central Presbyterian Church; contributions from Catholic Charities; donations from Panera Bread; donations of fresh produce from the Kansas State University farm in Olathe, Kansas; and monetary gifts from generous individuals.
To learn more about how to volunteer or donate, contact Sister Sharon Hamsa.