Sunday, April 11, 2021

Support Services host ‘Feed A Cardinal’

SUNY Plattsburgh is hosting the “Feed a Cardinal” campaign to raise money for the food pantry to go to helping food insecure students. The money will go toward supporting the food pantry on campus and the “surprise snacks” being delivered to students in quarantine. The campaign will go through March 31.

The food pantry has been around for about a decade on campus and is run by Student Support Services. At its start, staff members would take students, who were food insecure, grocery shopping. Michele Carpentier, assistant vice president for Student Affairs and Director of Special Programs, explained how she witnessed it has “grown from there to what is now a full fledged food pantry.”

The food pantry is accessible for any food insecure student on or off-campus through an online ordering system in the Plattsburgh Portal. Students can order at the beginning of the week and pick up their items on Friday. Prior to COVID-19, students could just stop by and grab the items they need.

Students come to SUNY Plattsburgh to study. This is important to the other tier that the “Feed a Cardinal” campaign supports as well. Anika Fullum and Rosy Hearns are in charge of the “surprise snack bags” being delivered to students abiding by quarantine rules.

“We kind of started this at the beginning. Anika had the really good idea to start delivering the surprise snack bags and then we started bringing other people involved in the process (sic) and it kind of just took off from there with lots of people donating food and snacks and everything,” Hearns said.

When students arrive to get their orders, there is a table set up with items set to expire soon or other donated items that they can take as needed.

At the end of the fall semester, they were delivering the snacks two to three times per week. They receive a list of the room numbers of students in isolation or quarantine, where they drop the bag, knock and dash away.

Fullum goes to Sam’s Club to purchase snacks like Cheez It, chips, cookies, candy and Rice Krispies Treats.

“I think everyone really enjoys a surprise, especially when that surprise is food,” Fullum said.

The “surprise snack bag” idea has become an important pick-me-up for students in these trying times.

“I think it speaks to the sense of community that is very unique to SUNY Plattsburgh. [In] Cardinal Country, we care about each other. Especially with everyone being so distanced, that to do some little part where we’re building those connections. I think that’s important and then we’re also supporting those students who have limited access, with the food shelf,” Fullum said.

The food pantry inventories the items they already have from donations, such as boxes of pasta and cans of vegetables. Some students used their remaining Cardinal Cash in May to buy cases of water to donate to the pantry. Once the staff takes an inventory of the donations, they figure out what items they are missing. “Feed a Cardinal” campaign money is used to fill in those gaps.

Students are encouraged to use the money they do have to purchase the perishable food items they need and then utilize the food pantry for their non-perishable needs.

The pantry recently put in a grant for a refrigerator that can supply more fresh foods like milk and eggs. Additionally, a freezer was donated by the library staff, who raised money from their own pockets to purchase it for the food pantry. Personal care items like toothbrushes, toothpaste, mouthwash and feminine care products are also supplied.

Ensuring students are receiving a decent nutrition is important to the food pantry. Students living off-campus are often trying to save money, so they may not have that extra money to spend on nutritious food. The food pantry gives these students the opportunity to “stretch their dollar,” Carpentier said.

“People that don’t have time to focus on their studies because they’re worried about where their next meal is coming from are not going to be efficient students,” Carpentier said.

To support either cause, visit bit.ly/feedacardinal through the end of March.

Some students used their remaining Cardinal Cash in May to buy cases of water to donate to the pantry. Once the staff takes an inventory of the donations, they figure out what items they are missing. “Feed a Cardinal” campaign money is used to fill in those gaps. Students are encouraged to use the money they do have to purchase the perishable food items they need and then utilize the food pantry for their non-perishable needs.

The pantry recently put in a grant for a refrigerator that can supply more fresh foods like milk and eggs. Additionally, a freezer was donated by the library staff, who raised money from their own pockets to purchase it for the food pantry. Personal care items like toothbrushes, toothpaste, mouthwash and feminine care products are also supplied.

Ensuring students are receiving a decent nutrition is important to the food pantry. Students living off-campus are often trying to save money, so they may not have that extra money to spend on nutritious food. The food pantry gives these students the opportunity to “stretch their dollar,” Carpentier said.

“People that don’t have time to focus on their studies because they’re worried about where their next meal is coming from are not going to be efficient students,” Carpentier said.

To support either cause, visit bit.ly/feedacardinal through the end of March.

 

 

 

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