The Bruin Cupboard serves as a lifeline for Salt Lake Community College students and staff who need food and other essential supplies.
Backed by the Utah Food Bank, which donates the majority of nonperishable goods, the campus food pantry allows anyone who signs up to take home up to four grocery bags full of food each month for free. Pantry coordinator Heather Murray was able to speak with a representative from the Utah Food Bank about the need for more food at SLCC.
“Luckily, they were happy to oblige and granted us more food each month,” she says.
According to Murray, 15 percent of students suffer from “food insecurity.”
“Food insecurity is when someone is at risk of going without the proper nutrition. This can mean having to skip meals or not having enough to eat when they do eat a meal,” she says.
For the past two years, the Social Work Association has been managing the Bruin Cupboard on the second floor of the South City Campus. A second location was recently established in the Auxiliary Services office at Taylorsville Redwood Campus.
Both locations receive food from the Utah Food Bank as well as donations from the public. But while the amount of food donations is increasing, the supply of volunteers is sporadic at best.
“It is a problem that repeats itself every semester,” she says. “It is also something we need to remedy as soon as possible.”
Many service learning classes send students to help run the food pantry, but Murray says they need to find a solution to stay open at the beginning of each semester, before students from service learning classes are sent to help.
Murray also mentions that there is a need for volunteers at the end of each semester. As students reach the hours they need to pass their service classes, they stop coming.
Anyone who may not have the time to volunteer but would still like to help is welcome to make donations of nonperishable foods to the Bruin Cupboard. Anyone interested in donating can find donation bins outside the pantry any time the school is open.