“Operation Restock” combats food insecurity during pandemic
by Madison Ling | Managing Editor
When Schoolcraft College was left with no choice but to shut down the college to ensure the safety of students, staff and faculty, many wondered how support services like the Student Food Pantry would operate and continue giving to those who expressed their need for assistance. Our community can rest assured and well-nourished because of the assistance that took place June 26, to prove the notion that although we may be away from our home campus, the ocelot spirit will always prevail.
The aforementioned event was coined “Operation Restock” and was conducted by the Student Activities Office (SAO) to provide a total of 30 people with necessary non-perishable food items during the quarantine. It functioned similar to how the Food Pantry normally would, but with safety measures in place to protect everyone involved from contagion.
“We put together a plan that was vetted by our risk management team and approved,” states Director of Student Activities, Todd Stowell, in regard to the COVID-19 precautions. “We also followed additional guidelines they set forth to allow our students to stay safe. [Therefore], the pickups were all curbside and touch-less for our patrons.”
In order to accommodate the expressed need, non-perishable items were secured from Sam’s Club, and items such as eggs, butter, bread and desserts were provided by Schoolcraft’s own culinary program thanks to the assistance of Chef Chris Misiak. In addition to Sam’s Club and SC Culinary, the newly formed Thayer’s Park garden will bring in fresh produce to the effort as well.
Future pickup dates for these packages are scheduled for the fourth Friday of July and Aug. from noon to 4 p.m. On the first June 26 pickup event, 19 of the 30 people were able to receive their food. The SAO is hopeful about getting the remaining students their package in the next week seeing as they could not make the event for various personal reasons.
“Operation Restock was formed with the goal of helping students that are food insecure by providing two bags of non-perishable food once a month. It will be in operation as long as we can sustain it with donations and fundraisers,” Stowell explained. “We will be looking for any and all donations to help with the Food Pantry restock.”
As such, monetary donations are requested to go through the Schoolcraft Foundation with a note for it to be dedicated to the Food Pantry’s fund. Non-perishable food donations can also be dropped off in the Student Activities area in the lower level of the VisTaTech Center. This by appointment only to ensure that staff can assist in transporting items into the storage room area. In addition, receiving students are required to RSVP before the pickup date so Student Activities can purchase and prepackage the bags in accordance with the demonstrated demand.
“Future dates and times into the fall semester for curbside and appointment pick-ups will be announced in the future,” Stowell concluded.
For more information about Operation Restock, future pickup dates and safety guidelines for use and donation, please contact the Student Activities Office at 734-462-4422.
Photos courtesy of the Student Activities Office
Feature photo: Volunteer Megan Monthei, Membership Services Specialist at the Fitness Center places bags of non-perishable food into the trunk of the car of a Student Food Pantry recipient on June 26, 2020.