Golden Grizzlies Pantry, Grizz Garments Closet in need of donations


Katie Reid

The Golden Grizzlies Pantry, located in the Oakland Center basement, is in need of snacks and toiletries to stock their shelves.

An average of 36% of college students nationwide report struggling with food insecurity at some time in their postsecondary academic career, according to a recent study from the “Journal of College Student Development.”

To combat this, the Golden Grizzlies Pantry provides food, toiletries and community resources for no cost to current Oakland University students. In doing so, the pantry strives to ensure each OU student has a reliable place to receive a meal. 

This past year, the Golden Grizzlies Pantry and Grizz Garments Closet moved to the Gender and Sexuality Center’s former location in the basement of the Oakland Center. This relocation has made it possible for the two resources to accommodate more items while operating from the same space.

“Before the move, the Golden Grizzlies Pantry and Grizz Garments Closet operated in completely separate buildings, which made it difficult for some students to access the resources,” Bella Levitt, the manager of the Golden Grizzlies Pantry and a master of social work student at OU, said. “Our current location is 3 to 4 times the storage space we had before. Since the pantry and closet are both in the same location, it is more accessible for students in need.”

The Golden Grizzlies Pantry is growing — not only in terms of space, but in staffing, charitable funding and volunteer efforts, as well. Currently, the pantry employs several student staff members, as well as an intern who is completing their field experience for OU’s bachelor’s of social work program. 

Running the Golden Grizzlies Pantry requires great effort and community involvement. The pantry relies heavily on volunteers and student organization service efforts to keep the space well-maintained. 

“We love to partner with OU student organizations to host food drives for the pantry,” Levitt said. “The pantry is a great opportunity for individuals or groups in need of service hours. We are always willing and able to accommodate students who’d like to donate their time.”

Currently, the Golden Grizzlies Pantry is in need of snacks and toiletries to stock their shelves. In particular, the pantry is seeking donations of individually wrapped snack foods, Ramen noodles, feminine hygiene products, toilet paper, paper towels and baking mixes.

“Right now, we have no Ramen noodles on our shelves, and are always looking for more individually packaged snacks to place on the grab-and-go cart in front of the pantry,” Levitt said.

In addition to the pantry, the Grizz Garments Closet is also in need of support. Previously only offering business casual clothes due to a lack of space and personnel, the closet has begun to offer casual clothing options as well.

The closet — which offers clothing to students in need at no cost — accepts donations from students and community members to keep its racks full. All gently used, clean clothing brought in on separate hangers are accepted.

Right now, the closet is in most need of business professional clothing for the upcoming Career Fair, as well as jeans, OU spiritwear, shoes and casual tops. With the cold winter weather, coats, gloves and hats are in high demand, as well.

To donate, students can drop items off at the Golden Grizzlies Pantry and Grizz Garments Closet during regular operating hours or schedule a contactless pick-up time.

Community members interested in hosting a food drive to further the goal of reducing food insecurity among the OU student body can email the pantry at [email protected].

Those interested in volunteering can sign up for a volunteering shift online by accessing the pantry’s volunteer calendar.