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University of Idaho’s Food Pantry Debuts New Headquarters

MOSCOW, Idaho — University of Idaho’s non-perishable food pantry is debuting its first central location on campus.

The Vandal Food Pantry will celebrate its grand opening with a ribbon cutting and open house 1 p.m. Wednesday, April 27, outside Shoup Hall, home to its new location.

Attendees are encouraged to donate nonperishable food, such as canned goods, cereals and pasta. Light refreshments will be served. The donor-funded pantry allows anyone — students or community members — to access free, non-perishable food items. The pantry will soon offer perishable foods through a partnership with the Idaho Food Bank.

U of I’s Department of Student Involvement began pantry services nearly a decade ago, starting with food distribution in the Bruce M. Pitman Center before scattering non-perishable food cabinets across campus in recent years. The new location is the first place where people can browse the pantry’s entire stock. The previous decentralized cabinet system is being phased out.

“Through the Vandal Food Pantry, we will be able to help students focus on what they need to be doing – studying – and not have to worry about where their next meal may be coming from,” said Blaine Eckles, vice provost for Student Affairs and dean of students. “I’m proud of the efforts that went into the creation of the food pantry. This is just another example of what it means to be a member of the Vandal Family.”

Shoup Hall formerly housed the Sustainability Center, which moved into the Idaho Student Union Building as part of its shift into the Department of Student Involvement. The pantry took over the location in March, serving more than 100 students and community members.

“We wanted to create a consistent presence and an enjoyable space for everyone,” said Meggie Cafferty, assistant director of Fraternity and Sorority Life and community engagement. “We want it to have more of a grocery store feel and make it so that anyone in our U of I community can come in and feel comfortable, no questions asked.”

Pantry volunteers hope to eventually offer vouchers for dining halls and add a refrigerator to store fresh food.

Fraternities and sororities, ROTC groups, ASUI staff, student staff from the Office of Multicultural Affairs and others donated time and resources to help make the pantry a reality.