The life of a college student is anything but lavish, and between tuition payments, living and food expenses, for some it can be difficult to make ends meet. It’s for this reason that the University of Toledo has opened its own food pantry for students in need of a meal.
The food pantry is located on Toledo’s campus in the basement of the interfaith center, and is open to any and all Toledo students that meet the pantry’s two requirements. The first requirement is a Toledo student status, whether undergrad, graduate, main campus or otherwise, and the student must hold a valid UT student ID. The second requirement is that the student must have a genuine need.
According to a report from The Independent Collegian, genuine need takes the student’s poverty level – an annual income of $17,000 or less – into consideration. Any student at or below this income level is considered to have need, and can thus utilize the pantry’s services. According to university officials, however, the pantry trusts students who claim to be hungry and will feed them regardless.
The idea for a food pantry for students at Toledo was first posed in 2012 but did not see approval until April of this year following increased interest in the project.
Toledo’s Center for Experiential Learning and Career Services department spearheaded the project, forming a partnership with the Toledo Seagate Food Bank, who helped to get the pantry up and running with the first week’s supply of food. The pantry also received their financial assistance from Feed Your Neighbor. Feed Your Neighbor offered the university its assistance via its network of 12 Toledo area food pantries.
According to the university, the pantry will assess its food needs once a month, and the Feed Your Neighbor program will provide for them until the university pantry is either self-sustaining or receives enough backing from other sources.
The pantry is stocked with primarily boxed and canned food, but as the pantry grows and becomes more stable, the pantry would like to add a refrigerator stocked with fresh foods.