At Springfield College, the Humanics philosophy is the way of life. Educating the students in spirit, mind, and body for leadership in service to others is essential to the primary mission at the college.
The Pride Pantry, located at the Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement, is a way for students and faculty to embrace and apply the Humanics philosophy that is lived and practiced each day at Springfield College.
The Pride Pantry is Springfield College’s food pantry that serves graduate and undergraduate students year around, twice a week. Students are required to bring their Springfield identification card on their first visit, but will then be issued a small laminated card with a number on it for additional visits.
However, student names are kept anonymous and they are only asked to bring their student ID so the pantry has an idea of how many students they are providing for, and how often they are seeking help.
The Pride Pantry was suggested in 2017 by a graduate student who noticed that many of her peers were struggling with having enough money for food every month and eating enough well-balanced meals.
According to a survey done by the Hope Center for College, Community and Justice, 41 percent of four-year university students struggle with food insecurity.
Hunger on college campuses is a vast problem nationwide, but it is a problem that is rarely talked about. Many students are hesitant to ask for help, since it is an issue that is often tossed aside or not as valued as other problems on college campuses.
Additionally, according to the College and University Food Bank Alliance (CUFBA), there are 640 food pantries at Universities across the country that provide a stable food source for thousands of students in need.
Charlene Elvers, the Director of the Center for Service and Leadership, works as a volunteer for the Food Pantry. She elaborated on the struggles that many students face when it comes to food insecurity.
“After paying rent, school bills, and other expenses, they just didn’t have enough money left to purchase enough food for an entire month and some of them had children they were feeding as well,” Elvers said.
After realizing that this was a problem impacting students at Springfield, as well as additional research on this issue at other colleges, the Pride Pantry opened in the fall of 2018 and has been a helpful resource for many students.
Students and faculty can get involved with the pantry by donating and spreading the word about what the Pride Pantry is. At this time, the pantry is looking for non-perishable and non-refrigable items, including oatmeal, canned fruit, pasta, soup, granola bars, and rice.
The pantry is also seeking toiletry items, including razors, shampoo, soap, lotion, and tampons. Donations can be brought to the Center of Service and Leadership in the Campus Union.
“People can get involved with the pantry by donating food and making sure to let their peers know about it and that it is open to all students who may not have enough money to buy adequate and nutritious food. We take non-perishable food anytime someone will donate,” said Elvers.
The Pride Pantry also is involved with some local food drives, including the annual “Fill the Bus” drive that is sponsored yearly by the Student Athlete Leadership Team (S.A.L.T.), the Department of Public Safety, and the Division of Inclusion and Community Engagement.
Numerous Springfield Athletic teams also take part in the food drive. Last time the event happened, they were able to collect a total of 2,900 pounds of food that benefited the Pride Pantry, as well as other local food pantries.
For the rest of the spring semester, the Pride Pantry is open on Thursday’s from 5-7 p.m. and Friday’s from 3-5 p.m.
Photo Courtesy Charlene Elvers