If you don’t have enough money, you can’t buy food.
If you can’t buy food, you can’t stay in school.
For many, if you can’t stay in school, you won’t achieve your dreams.
In 2015, 42.2 million Americans lived in food insecure households according to Feeding America.
The Utah Food Bank reports that 15% of people in the state of Utah alone are considered food insecure. That’s over 400,000 people in our own backyard.
Here’s where the HOPE Pantry comes in.
The HOPE Pantry is Southern Utah University’s (SUU) own on campus food pantry. HOPE stands for Helping Our People Eat and represents the goal of the pantry. It is open to all with a “no questions asked” policy so that no student has to go hungry or feel ashamed asking for assistance.
For some students, the HOPE Pantry truly is the embodiment of hope. It’s a nonjudgmental helping hand and reminder of community support.
SUU is not the only school working to combat hunger on college campuses.
People Christopher Nellum are looking for ways to fight food insecurity on campus by reviewing the research and identifying best practices.
University students in California are active in their pursuit to raise awareness and fight hunger. From “free” farmer’s markets to advocacy groups, Food Forward highlights students on the front lines fighting hunger with their peers. UCLA even has a pantry similar to the HOPE pantry.
Though these programs are a vital asset to university communities, they can also be daunting undertakings. It can often be a challenge relying on donations and inconsistent funding to keep these programs going.
This is where Bread & Soup Nite comes in.
On the first Monday of the month, SUU Service Leaders rally over 30 volunteers to serve unlimited bread and soup to students and community members. Everyone is welcome to enjoy the live, local entertainment and food for just $3.
Here’s the cool part.
Not only is Bread & Soup Nite the hot spot for visiting with friends and getting a cheap meal, it is also a “food-raiser” for the HOPE Pantry. Attendees are encouraged to bring nonperishable food donations to stock the pantry in exchange for a lowered admission price. With an average attendance of 325 people, we can keep the pantry stocked.
In addition to nonperishable food, any donated, day old bread left over from Bread & Soup Nite is set out for students to take free of charge.
Support for the HOPE Pantry and Bread & Soup Nite comes from university and community members invested in student success. These student lead programs are a step reducing food insecurity and increasing graduation rates.
For more information about food insecurity and what you can do to make a difference, visit feedingamerica.org
For more information about the HOPE Pantry or Bread & Soup Nite, visit suu.edu/community