Del Tech Unveils First Food Pantry at Georgetown Campus
Stocked with canned and dried goods, along with hygiene and cleaning products, the new pantry is expected to fulfill the needs of students who struggle to choose between paying rent and buying food.
"'College kids should be able to have food. They should be able to figure that out. They should be able to work part time,' said Dr. Bobbi Barends, the college's Vice President and Campus Director, referring to the misconception that once students leave high school, their food insecurity sheds as they move into adulthood.
"But the reality is our students are juggling full-time work and really, they're here because they're trying to make a better life for themselves," Barends clarified.
This is the first food pantry available on a Del Tech campus thanks in large part to the Food Bank of Delaware and the financial support from the Harry K. Foundation.
"We have 32 pantries across the state, K-12. The idea of opening college pantries was to ensure that our college kids, [who] sometimes have to make a decision: is it books or is it food? So this alleviates that pressure a little bit," said Harry Keswani, president of the foundation.
The pantry's hours of operation are limited and students are encouraged to make an appointment.
"We had a soft opening end of November, early December. We're so happy to say that we've had 48 visits since then. We're open three days a week, to our students only, two hours each day," said Barends.
The Harry K Foundation has donated over $107,000 to the Food Bank of Delaware to support anti-hunger programs, including several school pantry and backpack programs.
"It's our job to provide them with every possible ingredient to succeed," Keswani said.
Last year a National Hunger on Campus report said food insecurity affects 3,800 students at over 30 community and four-year colleges across 12 states.
If you'd like to donate to Del Tech's food pantry food drives are held on campus year round.