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Food Pantry Provides More Than Food

“When something like a food pantry is established, you feel like there are people who want to support and help you succeed.” -Debbie

As a non-traditional nursing student and mom of three teenage sons, Debbie often spends a third of her budget on food. This can be hard on her family financially. They’ve had to go without other things to afford food — until she heard from a professor about the on-campus food pantry.

For Debbie, the food pantry provides more than just some basic needs. It also provides morale.  “There’s a community effort being brought to campus to make a difference,” she said. “I see items from multiple local grocery stores, and I feel like I have a community that is willing to support our sacrifice and that I am not alone. Sometimes that’s all I need to know to keep fighting for the next A.”

When Debbie walks into the food pantry, sometimes she gets nervous that she’ll be judged for taking food as a non-traditional student or that people will think that she’s taking too much. However, when she walks out she always feels comfortable. The food pantry supports every student at every stage of life, no matter if they are a parent returning to college like Debbie, a first-year student, a Veteran, or someone pursuing a career change. All students are welcome.

This is the beauty of the food pantry: it’s a place that meets students needs, helps them, and provides community. It was started in January 2018 by the Associated Students of Boise State University (ASBSU). ASBSU saw a need — 40 percent of students at Boise State face food insecurity on a regular basis — and they worked with the Office of the Dean of Students to combat this problem.  Between January and October 2018, more than 100 students used the pantry for a total of 251 visits, with more and more coming as students become aware. It has snack items, meal packages created by the campus dietician, toiletries, school supplies and groceries.

Debbie’s kids love the snacks she brings home from the food pantry. She also recognizes how important it is for her children to see the support that Boise State provides. Her boys now know when they go to college and face challenges too, there are always people and resources to assist them.