In an effort to reach more students, a second location for Husker Pantry was opened Aug. 30 on the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s East Campus.
“We know that we have students who use the pantry who are on East Campus, and we’re always looking for ways to reduce barriers to access,” said Megan Patel, program coordinator for Husker Pantry. “When you have low food security or you’re low on money, it’s not as easy as just stopping by the grocery store on your way home.’’
In 2015, a University of Nebraska–Lincoln student survey found that 30% of students were food insecure, leading to the inception of the Husker Pantry on City Campus in spring 2017. Since then, the number of students utilizing the pantry has steadily grown to more than 200 weekly visitors.
The new location will serve students who live on or near East Campus. The students will be able to visit the pantry without having to take the bus, walk, bike or drive to City Campus and back home.
The East Campus location will offer the same resources as the City Campus location, including ground beef and fresh produce through new partnerships, such as the Loeffel Meat Laboratory, with support from Cactus Cares.
“It’s pretty exciting because sometimes you have food pantries that just have canned food,” said Tim Anderson, law student and graduate administrative associate for the pantry. “So, we have partnerships with the Meat Lab and also with the Student Organic Garden, and they donate a lot of fresh produce.”
ASUN also facilitated a partnership between Dining Services and the Husker Pantry through which the pantry will receive one meal ticket for every on-campus meal plan purchased. The program will be available to pantry visitors later in the semester.
The Husker Pantry is open to all students with a valid NCard. It is private and confidential, and spouses, children or friends of students are allowed to accompany them while they shop.
According to a summer 2021 survey, more than 58% of pantry visitors are first-generation students and more than 22% support dependents. More than 75% have reduced cost of living, reduced financial stress and skipped fewer meals after utilizing the pantry.
The Husker Pantry is funded by monetary donations through the University of Nebraska Foundation, as well as donations from individuals and organizations across Lincoln. The pantry has an Amazon wish list and numerous donation bins on City and East campuses. Student organizations are encouraged to partner with the pantry donation drives, as well.
The East Campus pantry is in Room 108B of the East Campus Visitors Center, 1625 Arbor Drive. The Husker Pantry on City Campus is the University Health Center, room 123. Details on hours for both locations are available online.