New & Improved Resource Room Combats Food Insecurity for Sandburg Students

  Aaron Frey
  Friday, March 27, 2020 3:43 PM
  Campus News

Galesburg, IL

Daryan Bryant was blown away the first time someone mentioned Carl Sandburg College’s Resource Room Campus Food Pantry.

“I was so shocked. I was like, ‘A resource room? What is that?’” recalled Bryant, a first-year student. “They said you can go get groceries or mouthwash. I couldn’t believe it.”

Thanks to a donation from Mike and Mary Panther, Bryant and other Sandburg students don’t have to worry about going hungry or running out of essential supplies. The best part? It’s free.

“That’s a blessing,” Bryant said.

Because of the Panthers’ generosity, the Resource Room moved to a larger location for the start of the 2019-20 academic year, added a freezer and refrigerator, and has regular deliveries from River Bend Foodbank that include fresh produce, meat and other food for students to help combat food insecurity.

The revamped room averaged 180 visits per month during the first semester and was used by an average of 90 students each month. Sandburg received six food deliveries during the fall semester and picked up two more orders at River Bend Foodbank’s location in Davenport, Iowa. It added up to more than 7,600 pounds and $12,000 worth of food.

“It’s been a game-changer for our students,” coordinator of student life Genny Stevens said. “They can pick something up to get them through the day or load up a few bags full of food to get them through the week.”

Previously, the Resource Room was largely stocked with things like macaroni and cheese, canned food and peanut butter donated by Sandburg faculty and staff members. Now students can take home other items like fresh fruit, vegetables and even cuts of meat.

“It’s food that you can get real nutrients from,” Bryant said. “You can go get some chicken that you can cook up and make chicken and pasta or fry it up.”

Deliveries arrive the third Wednesday of each month, and it doesn’t take long for students to start trickling in once the room has been restocked. All they need to do is present a current Sandburg ID.

“They know exactly when it’s delivery day, and it’s neat to see how they excited they get from seeing the new items that came that month,” Stevens said. “The great thing is that nobody feels like it’s something to be ashamed of if they use it. They just know it’s something available to them, and it’s been a great addition to our campus.”

For students like Bryant — who came to Sandburg from Gary, Ind., and is a member of the women’s basketball team, Women of Character and Black Student Association — it’s been invaluable.

“By the time I get out of classes, do homework and go to practice, everything’s closed. And I don’t have a way to Walmart because I don’t have a car,” Bryant said. “My mom helps me when she can, but when I don’t have that, I know I can always turn to the resource room and go there.”

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Aaron Frey