A Spartan Safety Net

Spartans Band Together to help Student Food Bank Meet Increased Need

MSU Chef Kurt

A Spartan Safety Net

Spartans Band Together to help Student Food Bank Meet Increased Need

The MSU Student Food Bank has long been a source of comfort—a place where students find not just help with hunger but support from other students, right in their own community.

So it is little wonder that hundreds turned to the food bank after the COVID-19 pandemic upended their lives and caused uncertainty, panic and food insecurity.

Their community rallied.  Contributions of time and resources from across campus resulted in serving more than 750 MSU students and families, and an additional 150 community members in local shelters, over a single weekend.

Support poured in from across campus.

Chefs from Culinary Services and the Spartan Hospitality Group helped with preparation and distribution plans after Residential and Hospitality Services stepped in with surplus food from cafeterias and the refrigerated trucks to deliver and store the food at the food bank.

“There was no reason to let that food go to waste when it could be given to people in need,” says Vennie Gore, vice president for MSU Auxiliary Enterprises. “We recognize many students rely on the university for more than just education. For some, we also represent a safe space to live with reliable meal service. Taking measures to keep our community healthy and safe during an outbreak doesn’t mean we stop being a resource for our students.”

MSU physicians provided oversight and supplies to ensure that proper precautions were followed to keep everyone safe.

“We all felt that this was what it means to act as a community and a Spartan,” says Dennis Martell ’91, M.A.; ’94 Ph.D.), director of health promotion in the division of Student Health and Wellness at Olin Health Center. “Giving assurance to those that may not have come out all week, that their community cared, meant as much to some as the resources.”

Ongoing support has also come from Student Affairs and Services, Governmental Affairs, the Alumni Office, the Associated Students of MSU and the Council of Graduate Students. Staff at Olin Health Center, where the food bank resides, have pitched in daily to help meet the increased demand.

Due to the need for increased social distancing, food bank services are now being offered through 15-minute appointments. In this way, the food bank is continuing to serve about 24 individuals and families daily.

HOW TO HELP: Food or physical donations cannot currently be accepted from community members, but monetary gifts to support the food bank’s ongoing efforts can be made. A web page compiling MSU emergency funds and places in need on campus has been created for giving online. In recent weeks, more than 1,100 donors have contributed nearly $79,000 to emergency assistance funds for students in need.

LEARN MORE about the MSU Student Food Bank at foodbank.msu.edu.

Author: Lois Furry, '89