Golden Grizzlies’ Food Pantry celebrates grand opening

Bridget Janis, Managing Editor

About 36 percent of college students do not know where their next meal will come from according to a recent study from NPR. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t options for these students. Oakland University opened the Golden Grizzlies’ Pantry as a way to help the OU community with food insecurity and provide students with a reliable place to receive their next meal.

The Golden Grizzlies’ Pantry celebrated their grand opening on Friday, Oct. 26 after three years of planning.

“There’s been a number of occasions where myself or one of our advisers had to walk students to get food or had to purchase food for our students because they have indicated that they have not eaten,” said Maria Beam, director of social work at OU.

The Golden Grizzlies’ Pantry will be open for all OU faculty, staff and students and will be located in room 49G of the Oakland Center, next to the Office for Student Involvement. The food pantry will start off with being open three days a week: Monday (1 p.m. – 3 p.m.), Tuesday (10 a.m. – 3 p.m.) and Thursday (2 p.m. – 6 p.m.).

“I have heard stories from other students and hearing the things they’re going through as far as balancing purchasing a textbook or buying groceries,” said Raenece Johnson, manager of the Golden Grizzlies’ Pantry. “No student should have to face those barriers.”

The Golden Grizzlies’ Pantry has a variety of items being offered, such as non-perishable items, canned vegetables and fruit, snacks, baby food, feminine hygiene products and toiletries. They also take into account dietary restrictions and provide gluten-free items.

“There’s many people on campus or students that are hungry,” Beam said. “There are many folks on campus or students that are homeless. This is an issue that I think people are aware of and this is the first time that we are really excited to be able to take the first step to be able to offer this type of resource that students need.”

The pantry will rely on volunteers and the help of others to assist with checkouts and answering walk-ins. If students want to volunteer at the food pantry, they can visit the Golden Grizzlies’ Pantry tab under the Office for Student Involvement web page and fill out an application.

To donate to the food pantry, students can drop off items at the Golden Grizzlies’ Pantry or in 513 Varner Hall. The food pantry has high demand items, such as gluten-free options, canned meat, rice, peanut butter and gift cards to local grocery stores.

The Golden Grizzlies’ Pantry does not only offer food services. They will also provide resources for human services, family services, Salvation Army locations and health clinics.

“Oftentimes, students who experience food insecurity or hunger have other types of basic needs [or] deficiencies such as transportation, child care or housing,” Beam said. “The resources we have available can help direct students to non-profits or organizations or other types of government assistance to where they can get connected to those additional resources.”

For additional information, contact Raenece Johnson at [email protected].