IU Bloomington student food pantry addresses ‘hidden hunger’ on campus

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BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (Dec. 1, 2015) — A student food pantry is now open at Indiana University, tackling “hidden hunger” on campus.

The Crimson Cupboard opened its doors inside Campus View Apartments on Tuesday, with a grand opening reception planned from 5-7 p.m. and its first open hours from 8-9 p.m.

“I want people to feel comfortable coming here,” senior Mercedes Jones said.

Jones knows most people may find a food pantry on a college campus surprising. She said that when she started at IU she did not think about her fellow students’ financial situations.

“I’ve always had financial support from my parents so when I came here, I just assumed that everybody else was the same way,” Jones said.

What she found, instead, is that many students struggle to meet the financial needs that come with school. Over the summer, Jones took an internship with the Student Advocates Office. Her task was to determine the need for a food pantry, something Director Sally Jones (no relation) and her colleagues had been considering for years.

“I think people make assumptions about students that their parents are always able or willing to provide for them … but students really are adults and oftentimes are struggling with lots of different financial demands,” Sally Jones said.

Not only did Jones find a need, she became so passionate about the issue that she took on the pantry as a project after her internship ended.

“It was such a blessing in disguises,” Jones said.

The pantry will open at least twice a week through the end of the semester. Students only need to show their student I.D. and fill out a survey to get food.

“We don’t need proof of income. I don’t need you to sit down and tell me why you could use the food pantry. Essentially what we’re doing is going off the honors system,” Jones said.

It’s the first step in what Jones and her advisor said is a hidden issue on campus- students who skip meals or try to make ends meet since college is expensive and a meal plan can run upwards of $3,000.

Jones is hoping the pantry will help do more to expose the issue to more people on campus and outside of the school.

“When people are hungry, most times they’re not going to tell their friends, ‘I can’t afford to buy groceries, because that’s embarrassing.’ … That’s why it’s so important to me,” Jones said.

The pantry is running on donations only for the time being. You can find out more and donate at the link here.

Schedule through end of year:

December 4th: 1-4 pm
December 8th: 5-8 pm
December 11th: 1-4 pm
December 13th- 4-8 pm
December 20th: 3-6 pm

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