La Salle’s pantry is “here to support our students”
Erude pandemic, The Cart continued to meet the needs of University students.
When students walk into The Basket, the pantry on the La Salle University campus, they often have a similar reaction.
“They are just happy to be there,” said Laura B. Frank, Ph.D., associate professor of nutrition and director of The Basket. “We greet them with” Welcome to the basket! ” And they smile. They might look around and say things like, “I didn’t know you had that kind of choice. But almost all of them are in a state of disbelief that we have this resource here for them.
Le Panier meets the needs of hungry and food insecure students in La Salle by providing them with access to fresh, packaged food at no cost. It has remained open, but with limited availability hours, throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Food insecurity refers to inadequate or unreliable access to nutritious and affordable food. This remains a pervasive problem on college campuses across the country. More … than three in 10 American students have experienced food insecurity over a 30-day period, according to a 2020 study.
In addition, food insecurity has been linked to the decline in school performance. A study published this year in the journal Public Health Nutrition found that food insecure students were 43% less likely to graduate college and 61% less likely to obtain a graduate or professional degree. Food insecurity, according to the study, also disproportionately affected first-generation students.
“Food insecurity creates cumulative challenges,” Frank said. “It’s not just ‘Do I have enough to eat?’ It challenges students to find a difficult balance between work and academic commitments. This puts them at increased risk of dropping out of college and suffering from mental health issues. Food insecurity has a real domino effect on all aspects of their lives.
Enrollment in Philabundance’s Grocers Against Hunger program has allowed La Salle to partner with our local fresh produce grocery store and help keep The Basket shelves and refrigerators well stocked. The program pairs local grocery stores with pantries looking to receive excess food supply from a store that it cannot sell, often due to a product’s expiration date. The Food Rescue Program brought more than 10,000 pounds of food to La Salle, including produce, dairy, baked goods, frozen meat and poultry. Philabundance also supplies The Basket with canned and packaged foods free of charge.
The cart maintains a canvas page across the maLaSalle Portal, for those looking for weekly updates on uptime or resource availability. Those looking to volunteer regularly or donate food items should contact The Basket Director Laura B. Frank, Ph.D., at [email protected].
September is Anti Hunger Month, a good time to remind the La Salle community of The Basket’s availability year-round, Frank said. The Basket has two locations: on the lower level of St. Benilde’s Tower, on the West Campus, and College Hall, on the Main Campus. Each week, The Basket serves nearly 30 students. That’s a decrease of over 60% from the student population that the pantry served as late as March 2020.
“Every student is welcome to The Basket,” Frank said. “We are there to support our students and they are always so happy that we are there for them. “
—Christophe A. Vito