Canning college hunger at USC food pantry - DatelineCarolina

Canning college hunger at USC food pantry

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Senior Psychology student Jonathan Keefe has volunteered for Gamecock Pantry for two years. Keefe is now Director of the program, overseeing volunteers and donations. Senior Psychology student Jonathan Keefe has volunteered for Gamecock Pantry for two years. Keefe is now Director of the program, overseeing volunteers and donations.
Angelette Weaver is in her first semester of volunteering. Every Monday night Weaver serves the pantry's clients. Angelette Weaver is in her first semester of volunteering. Every Monday night Weaver serves the pantry's clients.

By Katie Davis

The National Student Campaign Against Hunger reports 48 percent of college students don't have adequate money to consistently feed themselves.

That problem does happen to USC students. Over 400 students are currently using the services of Gamecock Pantry. The pantry, in the McBryde building, is run by students for students.

 “There are probably 40-50 people that you can count on being there every week. Then there is another 50 that will come on an as needed basis,” said director Jonathan Keefe.

Any USC student can receive 15 pantry items each week with no questions asked.  The only information the pantry collects from clients is a simple demographic survey.

Keefe wants students to know that it is not uncommon to need help and the pantry is welcoming to current and new clients.

 “Coming here you can see we have an informal atmosphere which we have worked hard to create. People can come here to use the service and the people here are not judging them and are just like them,” said Keefe.

All food items in the pantry come from donations and food drives. The pantry has never had to buy items to stock the shelves. 

Aside from the donations, the pantry would not be able to operate without its student volunteers.  Angelette Weaver has worked in food pantries from a young age, which led her to begin volunteering at the Gamecock Pantry in August. 

 “It’s just really easy to come in. We just have people who are willing to step in as much as possible,” said Weaver.

The Gamecock Pantry served only seven students when it opened in 2013. Last month alone it served 130 students.

 “We don’t know where that limit is. I don’t know how many students on campus need that help,” said Keefe.

The pantry continues to grow as it served a record number of students averaging over 100 in each of the last three months.  

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