The Boise State Campus Food Pantry has remained open throughout the coronavirus pandemic for all current students looking for a snack or to fill their refrigerators.The pantry is also expecting some new renovations and additions, such as a refrigerator and freezer, to welcome new types of donations for students and staff on campus to use, as well as new herbs to add to their garden.
In the coming weeks, Food Network Star Jyll Everman will be hosting a free virtual cooking class for Boise State students and faculty. Free kits will be available to those who participate and the link to sign up will be open soon.
Sophomore sociology major Morgan Friday plays a huge role in working with the Campus Food Pantry to ensure that every student’s needs are satisfied, whether they are regulars or first-time users.
“I think the important part is we have a lot of our regulars still coming,” Friday said. “That’s a big reason for us staying open is because of the people who regularly use [the pantry] as a vital resource.”
Located across from Chrisway Drive at the Campus School Building in room 103, the pantry is currently open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. to accommodate students looking for free resources. The pantry has since re-opened in January to ensure that students are well taken care of.
Friday believes many students are unaware of the Campus Food Pantry, yet it provides an extremely vital resource for students, which is why it is important to keep open.
“That’s a big reason for being open; not only for others, but for the people who need the pantry and we are more than happy to be open for the people that really need it,” Friday said.
With the new year, new plans for the Campus Food Pantry are in the works. The pantry has begun collaborating with Boise State’s Service Learning Program in order to collect donations and improve the space as a whole.
Friday provided updates on the new and improved Campus Pantry, including the free virtual cooking class.
“It will be completely free to do with all the foods you have and you will be able to cook it,” Friday said. “So that’s a good option for people who are maybe looking to expand their cooking knowledge.”
Friday mentioned that the pantry is looking for new volunteers to help with delivery and unloading donations.
To stay informed on the pantry, students can sign up for their newsletter that will be going out to recipients once a month. This letter will include pantry needs, volunteer opportunities and a staff member spotlight.
“You can ask to sign up [for the newsletter] when you come into the pantry,” Friday said. “There’s an online form [too] and it will ask you if you want to stay updated with the Boise State food pantry.”
Donations to the food pantry are always encouraged and accepted. Until the pantry receives funding for the refrigerator and freezer, the pantry will only be accepting non-perishable food items. Sign up sheets are also available online to schedule a donation date and time, in accordance with COVID-19 regulations.
Students have made the trek back to campus after spending the holidays at home for winter break. However, COVID-19 displaced many members of the campus community, making it difficult to return home for the holidays.
Many out-of-state students took the risk and went back home for winter break, but others made the tough decision to stay on campus throughout the final months of the semester, which introduced some new complications regarding food resources and dining options.
As expected, Boise State’s dining halls closed on Nov. 29 and remained closed until Dec. 18. The only dining hall that stayed open through the rest of the semester was the Boise River Cafe (BRC) located in the Student Union Building (SUB).
Eric Kline is a sophomore studying supply chain management at Boise State. Kline is one of those students who decided to stay on campus during the winter break in order to ease the concerns of possible risks surrounding traveling during a global pandemic.
“I have family across the country that we normally would go see, but partially for safety reasons and partially because I wouldn’t want to have to quarantine when I got back, it seemed like it would be easier if I was [on campus],” Kline said. “It would be nice to be on campus in an environment where I can really focus [for finals].”
Kline and the many other students who decided to stay on campus for winter break had to think about their food supply as well. Since most dining options were closing temporarily, these students were forced to find alternatives to make sure they did not go hungry over the holidays.
“It is tricky trying to figure out how I’m going to eat when I’ve only used on campus food for the whole year,” Kline said.
For some students, however, spending money on food supplies at grocery stores isn’t financially feasible. Fortunately, there were other options for finding food on campus, one being the Campus Food Pantry at Boise State.