With COVID-19 causing businesses and schools to close, those who are food insecure now face even greater challenges when it comes to finding their next meal.
According to Pacer Pantry Contributor Sr. Elizabeth McGill Ph.D., pandemics such as COVID-19 are especially difficult for those who are food insecure.
“Right now everyone is dealing with waves of panic and that doesn’t eliminate any group of people, including people dealing with food insecurity,” said McGill. “People are still feeling this vast need because of the uncertainty.”
At the beginning of the semester, Marywood’s Pacer Pantry opened to help combat food insecurity on campus. The pantry offers students and faculty free access to non-perishable food items and hygienic products. Despite Marywood’s campus being closed for the remainder of the semester, McGill said the Pacer Pantry is still open.
“Just like people who need counseling services can reach out and get access to it, the Pacer Pantry is staying open for emergency personnel and anyone who expresses a need,” said McGill. “If someone needs the resources and makes it known, we can help them.”
McGill said that she is keeping an open line of communication with the dean of students and that she encourages students to reach out to any campus representatives if they are in need.
Another member of the Marywood community hoping to help those that are food insecure is Associate Professor of Business Dr. Christopher Speicher. Speicher, along with the Friends of the Poor, held an emergency drive-through food giveaway for Marywood faculty on Wednesday, April 15.
“I’m involved with the weekly Friends of the Poor food basket giveaways so… a group of us were sitting at my house talking about who is being affected by this and what we can do for them,” said Speicher. “My 16 year old son said to me, ‘Dad, why not people at Marywood?’ and I thought it was a great idea.”
The emergency food drive-through provided baskets to participating families that included meat, vegetables, canned goods, bread and eggs among other various other food items. According to Speicher, about 42 families and international students received food baskets.
“We’re planning on continuing the Marywood drive-through every week until the pandemic closures are over,” said Speicher. “Anyone else who is in need can go to the weekly Friends of the Poor drive-through too.”
However, food pantries like Friends of the Poor and the Pacer Pantry are not the only ones providing resources for people who are food insecure.
“Businesses are really helping to fill in the gaps for people in need. For example, State Street Grill is providing breakfast for free for any students in surrounding school districts,” said McGill. “It’s great to see the community and local businesses coming together during this time of need.”
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