Marywood to open food pantry for students and faculty

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Marywood to open food pantry for students and faculty

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The "Pacer Pantry" will be located in Emmanuel Hall. Photo credit: Marli Hoskins

The "Pacer Pantry" will be located in Emmanuel Hall. Photo credit: Marli Hoskins

The "Pacer Pantry" will be located in Emmanuel Hall. Photo credit: Marli Hoskins

Marli Hoskins, Assistant News Editor

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Marywood is planning to become part of the growing number of universities and colleges across the nation that provide a free resource center for their students.

The “Pacer Pantry” will be the home of not only food, but also school supplies and professional clothing that students may help themselves to as needed. The pantry is planned to be located in Emmanuel Hall.

One of the main contributors of the pantry Dr. Elizabeth McGill said it was created to help the campus community with fluctuating needs.

“We are looking for healthy food choices, hygiene supplies, professional wear, school supplies and anything that students may need to assist them in reaching their full potential,” said McGill.

According to McGill, the idea was conceived when a group of constituents across campus came together and began collaborating to come up with ideas of how to address the needs of students on campus. They found that food insecurity is a growing issue.

Food insecurity can be described as a state in which a person has insufficient access to nutritious foods due to fiscal means or time constraints.

According to McGill, time constraints is a significant reason food insecurity occurs among students.

“Students have so many different things they have to balance in their day-to-day schedules, whether that be jobs, studying, internships, buying books, [or] buying appropriate clothing. Sometimes providing adequate nutrition and a balanced diet is challenging,” said McGill.

Professor of Nutrition and Dietetics Jess Bodzio said a nutritious diet is crucial for students to prevent them from becoming cognitively overloaded.

“If any one of us is not getting the nutrition our body is calling for, it can show up in a variety of ways, one of those being inhibiting learning,” said Bodzio.

Bodzio and her team in the Nutrition Department created a basic needs assessment study for Marywood students after seeing research that showed a high prevalence of food insecurity among college students.

Bodzio included questions from students regarding the Pacer Pantry in her study to help the pantry better equip themselves for their needs.

“We not only asked questions about their nutritional habits but what asked about things they wanted to see in the pantry and also some topics they may want to learn about that could help to better educate themselves on topics such as nutrition and even financial literacy,” said Bodzio.

McGill said she hopes the pantry will help promote social responsibility and strengthen the Marywood community.

“The resource center is closely aligned with the school’s mission and truly touches on all of the core values we have here at Marywood, so it just makes sense to have it here,” said McGill.

The Pacer Pantry is projected to open in the spring 2020 semester and will be available to Marywood students and faculty members.

Contact the writer: [email protected]