Stocking Shelves and Changing Lives
Across the Commonwealth, student volunteers dedicate their time to fight food insecurity at Penn State.
There’s a lot that goes into being a student. And while real challenges like affording tuition and managing the stress of coursework often take spotlight, other issues exist that are less discussed but just as real—like food insecurity. Too often, students are having to wonder how they’re going to afford their next meal—a question that the executives of the Lion’s Pantry, University Park’s student-run food pantry, are helping to answer.
What should people know about the Lion’s Pantry, or food insecurity in general, that they might not know otherwise?
Everybody has their perceptions of what college life is like. Many people are unaware that there are students facing hunger every day on college campuses across the country. The Lion’s Pantry serves approximately sixty students per week, and I am confident that there are more students out there who need us but don’t know that we exist and are here to help. To those who didn’t know about the issue of food insecurity among students, I urge you to get involved—donate food or funds to help us stock our shelves, spread the word through your networks—and help us to do more for those students in need.
— Sayre Bradley, president of the Lion’s Pantry
Why do you choose to volunteer your time and efforts to the Lion’s Pantry?
I never really saw myself getting involved at a high-level with the Lion’s Pantry when I first signed up. I saw the organization as relatively small, and I thought that participating would be one of those deals where I did one service event and claimed I made a huge difference. I couldn’t have been more mistaken. As I became more involved throughout my first year, I started building connections with the students I helped to serve. Seeing firsthand how appreciative they were for what I helped to do made me want to take on a leadership role. Since then, I’ve become even more motivated to fight food insecurity. Being a student is stressful enough—and I want to make sure hunger isn’t an added stressor.
— Emily Griffin, volunteer coordinator of the Lion’s Pantry
How have you personally seen the Lion’s Pantry services impact the Penn State experience?
A friend of mine recently told me that she didn’t have enough money to eat for the rest of the week. When I told her about what the Lion’s Pantry is for, she couldn’t believe it. She had no idea such a service existed and was instantly relieved not to have to worry about eating. Because of what we do at the Lion’s Pantry, she was not only better able to focus on classes but also able to change her view on volunteering at Penn State. Ever since she first went to the Lion’s Pantry, she’s felt motivated to give back through other organizations. It’s pretty cool to know that what we do not only helps our friends and peers but can have a hand in shaping how somebody gets involved at Penn State.
— Carly Baillis, treasurer of the Lion’s Pantry