Robin Blassberg Staff Writer
According to National Public Radio, 36% of university students have felt food insecure in the past month. Although Eastern has Hurley Hall and many residence halls have kitchens, it is possible for students to not receive the right nutrition or have the resources to buy groceries.
This pressing issue leads to students not being able to perform well “because they are hungry or worrying about when their next meal will be,” according to Eastern student Shawn Dousis. Thus, Dousis, alongside the Campus Ministry, established Shawn’s Cupboard two years ago. Dousis had belonged to the club People Helping People and the Ministry were seeking volunteers for their food bank, so the food pantry was born.
She shares that “along with other club members, volunteers, and a select few of amazing faculty members, [we have] really put a lot of time and energy into building the cupboard up” because of how prevalent and important this issue is. The time and effort put into growing and developing the cupboard is worth it, she says, because she knows “that we are helping students fuel their bodies to get through the day, the week, or even the month.”
The food pantry was founded with the intention “to provide supplemental food assistance to students who may have challenges with having enough food to eat during the academic year.” Dousis and the many other volunteers do this in line with incorporating a “welcoming environment for students and getting more support from the University.”
Students can support the pantry by donating food or volunteering their time and assistance.
Currently, the pantry is accepting non-perishable items and frozen foods. Needed non-perishable foods are: pasta, mac and cheese, rice, canned vegetables, beans, tomato and other sauces, granola bars, oatmeal, cereal, tuna, soups, instant potatoes, peanut butter, jelly, and crackers. Frozen/fridge foods include: pot pies, frozen pizza, frozen vegetables, frozen burritos, yogurts, applesauce, protein packets, and burritos. Dousis wants students to know that although these foods are what college students typically gravitate to, all donations are greatly accepted and appreciated. To donate, all students, faculty, and community members can either write a check to the Campus Ministry or contact Dousis at firstname.lastname@example.org or Jessica Colonese at email@example.com.
If you are interested in volunteering and/or getting involved at Shawn’s Cupboard, you can contact Dousis and Colonese at their emails. Volunteers at the Cupboard sit in, during hours they choose, to inform and assist students who come in. Shawn’s Cupboard also asks that students advertise the club further by posting about it on social media, talking about it with friends, or reaching out to a student they know that is struggling with food insecurity, and discussing with them the solutions Shawn’s Cupboard provides.
Shawn’s Cupboard is located at the Knight House, which is between Winthrop Hall and the CCE. To access food, you must be a student at Eastern.