Food for thought

Campus Life

Livonia and Radcliff campuses address food insecurity

by Madison Ling, Staff Writer

Nestled in the Student Activities Center of the Livonia campus, as well as Room 256 of the Radcliff campus respectively, is a valuable and often obscure resource called the Food Pantry. The food pantry is available Monday through Friday during regular business hours to those Schoolcraft students suffering from food insecurity. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), food insecurity is referred to as the lack of access to sufficient amounts of safe and nutritious foods, and Compare that with a study published in the Journal for Nutrition Education and Behavior, they found that, “the percentage of student respondents in the total sample who were considered food insecure was 35.0%. There were significant relationships between food security status and sociodemographic variables”.

In 2011, the Student Activities Office and Schoolcraft’s AmeriCorps established an accessible food pantry located on the Livonia Campus. In 2013, Radcliff established its own food pantry, which was a collaborative project of Service Learning comprised of students and faculty. Students assisted in its creation by collecting donations, promoting it and staffing the pantry.

Since Livonia’s opening in 2011, over 150 students and approximately 400 family members from various backgrounds have benefited from using the fantastic resource. Many students accessing the pantry were single mothers trying to create a better life for their family as they balanced work, school and raising children. Some were young adults with a family member who was chronically ill and unable to provide for their children. Another was an army veteran who served two combat tours and was challenged with providing for his wife and two children. There were even some students who were homeless and living in their cars that would heat up one can for their time on campus and another before leaving for the day.

No matter the story, the duration of need or even the income, Student Activities provides students with two bags of groceries, twice a month at no cost to ensure that each of these students and each of these families, receive a warm meal in their stomachs and extra money to survive until their next paycheck.

“We want to make sure our students stay in school and succeed… Students are people too, and they come first. You all are the reason for our existence,” said Sociology professor Karen Schaumann when asked about the goals and purpose of the food pantry.

This resource allows students to save their money for other necessities that ultimately have to come before food sometimes, like bills and tuition. By providing four total bags of groceries per month, the food pantry prevents people from having to get a second or even a third job to make ends meet and thus, alleviates stress and improves academic success. Students looking to use the food pantry are asked to fill out a brief form before selecting their desired and needed food, toiletries and child care products.

According to Associate Dean of College Centers at Radcliff, Bonnie Heckard-Farmer, students can contribute to the cause by “donating and helping to spread the word that it is available.” Soup-can shaped donation boxes are located on both campuses and students are encouraged to give nonperishable items (especially ready to eat microwaveable meals), toiletries and other basic necessities.

Food drives, contests through Student Activities, and classes affiliated with the Service Learning Program is also an excellent way for students to help the Food Pantry and make a difference in their community.

The Radcliff Center is located at 1751 Radcliff Street in Garden City, and for anyone in need near the Radcliff Center, go to the Student Services Office for help. For more information on the Food Pantry on the Livonia campus contact the Student Activities Office at 734-462-4422.