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Food pantry seeks greater visibility

By David Floyd
On March 2, 2014

Since its founding in spring 2012, Bucky's Food Pantry has offered food, toiletries and other essentials to approximately 200 students and families in the surrounding area. Currently, the most pressing issue affecting the pantry is visibility.
"The biggest problem we have is not the donations, it's the information about Bucky's," said Michael Smith, chair of Bucky's Food Pantry. "The thing about a college campus is people are leaving and new people are showing up. Unless they're told somehow, new students are typically not aware that this service is available."
Smith said that students tend to prioritize their food over their tuition and other financial needs, which leaves them strapped for cash when they have to pay other education-related expenses.
"If people would know that this [service] is available for them, they could take the money they spend on food and redistribute it towards other sources like books, tuition and clothes," said Tom Hill, co-chair of Bucky's Food Pantry.
Many of the pantry's recent initiatives are intended to expand Bucky's Food Pantry's base of operation. The pantry has acquired a secondary distribution site in the Student Health Center and has also expanded its drop-off locations.
Last fall, in collaboration with the Counseling Center, Bucky's Food Pantry co-sponsored a campus coat drive.
Seeing that food sufficiency was becoming a problem on their campuses, other colleges and universities have reached out to Bucky's Food Pantry for advice about starting their own pantries.
"Basically we're trying to help them do what we did, and some of these colleges aren't even in the Appalachian region, one of the universities we talked to was in Illinois," Smith said.
At this moment Bucky's offers several different box options, each tailored for particular cultural or nutritional preferences.
Different food boxes are offered for vegetarians, vegans, and international students. Students requesting food are allowed to come back every two weeks.
Students can fill out an application online or visit Room W277 in the Mini-Dome for more information.

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