By: Katie Farkas
Food insecurity exists all throughout New York and this is not just a problem in big cities or small towns, it affects people everywhere, of all circumstances.
Adelphi’s Panther Pantry was created to take on this issue of food insecurity within our own campus. The pantry provides vulnerable members of the Adelphi community with basic food items, free of charge. The pantry also tackles other possible needs by offering access to personal care products, clothing and household items. After only two years, the Panther Pantry has helped numerous students and faculty members who struggle with food insecurity. The goal of the pantry is to allow members of the community to not let food insecurity get in the way of their success.
In the past months, the global pandemic has definitely had an impact on the pantry. Michael Hoffner, coordinator of Interfaith Center & Spirituality Services at Adelphi, said, “Covid's impact on unemployment rates has resulted in a lot more people and families looking to food assistance programs for help. A lot of local food programs across the country are struggling to meet the needs of their local communities. The pantry serves around 75 people a month. The largest group being undergraduate students and then grad students and then staff/faculty. Since Panther Pantry orders were already able to be placed through an online portal prior to the pandemic, we were able to move to a completely online system easily and seamlessly.”
Although the pandemic has had a severe impact on the number of people who need food assistance, this is not the only reason for an increase in food insecurity.
“As the cost of living continues to rise, [and] wages remain stagnant and supportive, benefits such as SNAP [Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program] are being cut, we are seeing an increase in food insecurity across the country,” Hoffner said. “It is a travesty to think that in the wealthiest country in the world people are going to bed hungry, either barely able to put food on the table or in too many cases, not able to put food on the table at all.”
Hoffner added, “Food insecurity does not have to exist. It is not for a lack of resources, because we have plenty of resources. Food insecurity is the result of a lack of empathy, willingness, creativity, and desire on the part of those in positions of power to solve the problem.”
Adelphi’s Panther Pantry is always available to help the Adelphi community by providing those of vulnerable populations with basic food items all free of charge. The pantry is located on the lower level of Residence Hall A on Adelphi University’s main Garden City campus.
All members of the Adelphi community can do their part in helping the Panther Pantry. Although the pantry does not accept food donations, they do accept financial support. Additionally, the pantry also relies on volunteers to staff the physical location, distribute food, take orders and shelve items. If a student is interested in helping out, please contact the Division of Student Affairs. Also, just simply spreading the word about all that the Panther Pantry does for our community can help them out as well.
The Panther Pantry Intake form is available via eCampus and is accessible to all members of the Adelphi community. All orders placed through the Panther Pantry remain confidential. Orders are filled on Tuesdays and Fridays and they can only be placed online. Orders that are placed Friday afternoon to Tuesday morning at 10 am will be filled on Tuesday afternoon. Orders placed Tuesday after 10 am to Friday at 10 am will be filled Friday afternoons.