University of Michigan-Dearborn’s Student Food Pantry has a new partner in its mission to end hunger on campus. The food pantry announced last month that it is now a partner agency of Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeastern Michigan.
The partnership will allow the Student Food Pantry to purchase food from Gleaners for less than 20 cents per pound. At that price, the shelves of UM-Dearborn’s pantry would overflow with food and toiletries for about $50, according to Amy Karaban, assistant director of civic engagement.
“Buying food at such a discounted price makes all the difference to us,” Karaban said. “We’re excited that financial donations now will allow us to make an even greater impact on campus.”
Food pantry staff members began working toward the partnership last year. Gleaners requires partner agencies to have proper food safety credentials for workers and to comply with federal regulations of food safety and security. Partner agencies must show that they non-discriminatorily provide food to those in need at no cost and with no obligation to work for services provided.
“We’re so happy to be working with Gleaners,” Karaban said. “It’s a great alignment of values because our mission is simply to provide food assistance to students in need.”
The food pantry officially opened in January, although clients began using the service in the fall. Karaban estimates they have received 1,500 pounds of food and toiletries and given out 900 pounds of goods since the beginning of the school year.
Those numbers are expected to increase next year as food pantry staff continue to build relationships across campus and look for ways to reach out to new student populations.
Individuals looking to support the food pantry still are welcome to provide goods; however, monetary donations can extend the work of the organization.
“We rely on the generous donations of faculty, staff and students. If you’re thinking about donating a can a soup, that’s fantastic,” Karaban said. “But if you instead choose to donate that 80 cents, we can buy five cans of soup. The partnership with Gleaners helps us leverage a dollar to better serve our clients.”