In March 2020, The Center for Civic Engagement, in collaboration with Student Engagement, started the Drew Food Pantry for students of the Drew community. Prior to the opening of the pantry, the Division of Campus Life and Student Affairs (CLSA) conducted a survey and discovered there was a need amongst students for affordable food. While the Interfaith Food Pantry in Morristown is just miles away, the on-campus pantry is meant to give students a more accessible option.
Now run entirely by The Center for Civic Engagement, the pantry can be found on the first floor of Commons across from the bookstore. Based on what donations are available, students can acquire food and toiletry items, such as canned vegetables and hygiene products. The pantry is receiving donations from anybody willing to donate, including students themselves. Gionna Del Purgatorio(‘20), Changebuilder Coordinator for The Center for Civic Engagement, said, “So far, we have received donations from Interfaith Food Pantry as well as other pantries in the area such as the Chatham United Methodist Church Ministry Food Pantry. We have also received a donation of Latinx snack foods from ARIEL, as a start to what we hope will be an expanded and continuous cultural club partnership with additional campus organizations.”
In the wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic in spring of 2020, the pantry was closed. Luckily, due to the dedication from then-graduate intern Alyssa Kiefer with the Center for Civic Engagement, the pantry has been back up and running since the summer of that same year. “Our Food Pantry benefited the Drew community during the initial as well as subsequent waves of the viral pandemic as students on campus saw a dramatic change to their access to food, not only on an individual level but as a Drew student,” said Del Purgatorio. “For most of 2020 and part of 2021, dining options on campus were limited in time as well as in the variety of options. While we are still grappling with the current and after-effects of this pandemic, these needs persist. In reality, these needs existed prior to the pandemic, which inspired the establishment of this Pantry.”
The Pantry is working on expanding their services by creating a pick-up station located in Seminary Hall on Thursdays. “I am in the process of creating a Google Form that will outline the Pantry’s stock and allow Drew community members to select the items they’d like to receive,” said Del Purgatorio. “Once we receive their form, volunteers will pack and assemble the bags to be available at Seminary Hall for pick up on Thursdays at a specified time.”
Del Purgatorio said that this plan is still in the making, but aims to serve mostly Theological and graduate students.
The current hours of the Drew Food Pantry are 3 p.m.- 6 p.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and community members can find updated hours of operation at any time: Drew Food Pantry Hours of Operation.
As the pantry expands, so do volunteer opportunities. The pantry encourages students to volunteer to help stock, greet visitors and monitor the Pantry. For questions about volunteering or the service in general, reach out to email@example.com.