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Haverford’s New Food Pantry: WCC to Host New Student Resource

On January 8th, students received the annual announcement email for applications to use the Facilities Fund, the pot of money students can submit proposals to draw from to be used for various projects to renovate or improve campus spaces. The email, sent by Students’ Council Officer of Campus Life Katie Chung ‘21, contained one unique change from years past: that $10,000 from the $35,000 total had been set aside to create a food pantry in the game room of the Whitehead Campus Center. 

In recent times, the game room has become a potential site of many new projects, including a campus pub. So, I sat down with Chung to hear more about the transition in the game room that is already underway.

Photo by Arshiya Bhayana ’20

“Coming into the fall we knew that E-Haus would not be present, so when I was running [for Students’ Council] I was really thinking about how to get more food resources on campus. And I think the administration as well had been thinking about a food pantry in the back of their minds.” said Chung. She was referring to the recently-defunct E-Haus which formerly provided free meals to any students each week out of an HCA apartment. “We did consider having the pantry in an HCA basement, but we realized that the game room is not really used much and is kind of in the center of campus.” 

“We designated the $10,000 from the facilities fund [for the pantry.] The reason why we did it from that fund is because we believe the campus really needs it. And so we figured, you know, we’ll be transparent about the fact that we’re using some of the Facilities Fund from there, but this is something that we’ve been thinking about and that really should happen.” Though Chung admits that no formal vote from Students’ Council took place to approve this use of these funds, she made it clear that this project had been on both the council and administrators’ minds for quite some time. 

She further elaborated on the plans for the pantry, set to open around spring break this year. Student workers will be paid to staff the pantry, shelving food and opening the space for eligible students. 

In her capacity as a Students’ Council representative for the project, Chung was not privy to details of how eligibility would be determined. However, Li Hermosillo Rojas ‘22, a member of the Food Pantry Planning Committee, provided some more details. 

“Right now we’re going to wait until the food pantry opens to see whether there should be limits if people are taking way too much,” said Hermosillo Rojas. They elaborated that the aims of the pantry are to serve first-generation and low-income students, often abbreviated as “FLI”.”

They also noted that the food pantry will help soften the impact of the closure of Lunt Café, where they had previously worked as a manager. “Lunt [Café] used to be a space to provide subsidized food for students to address food insecurity. And so that’s my main reason for joining the committee, to be able to help address food insecurity and other FLI issues on campus.”

Chung and Hermosillo Rojas both note that while the Facilities Fund will go towards building the food pantry area into the game room, other efforts will help acquire the food donations. Though Chung has “figured we’d get funding elsewhere for the actual food” to go in the pantry, Hermosillo Rojas has already seen the Haverford community support the project.  “At the last all-staff meeting, we asked faculty and staff to donate canned goods and non-perishables and we had a great response and continued interest, which was awesome to see,” noted Hermosillo Rojas. 

Over the past couple of years, Haverford offices have hosted smaller pantries and sponsored meals during the school breaks. This new pantry project will be the first permanent option. “It’s something that we’ve been seeing a lot, for example, during the breaks, the meal plan doesn’t work, all that stuff. So we’re hoping for the food pantry to provide resources for the people who need them,” said Hermosillo Rojas. 

According to Associate Dean of the College and Dean of Student Engagement and Divisional Initiatives Michael Elias, the food pantry will be opening before March 1 and will operate over spring break. It will be open Monday-Friday 5-9 pm, and  Saturday-Sunday 12-4 and 5-9 pm.

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