Campus food pantry helps struggling students

Sophia Mantheakis (Hunger and Homelessness Alleviation Coordinator) weighs a bag of food for a student in the SOU Food Pantry in the lower level of the Stevenson Union.

Sophia Mantheakis (Hunger and Homelessness Alleviation Coordinator) weighs a bag of food for a student in the SOU Food Pantry in the lower level of the Stevenson Union.

The rising cost of education and living expenses pose a great challenge for some college students.

Hoping to alleviate some of the burden for these students, a group of coordinators at Southern Oregon University started a food pantry last term.

The program is designed to help students in the greatest need by offering up to 10 items of non-perishable foods or personal hygiene items a week.

“What we have found with the rising cost of living is that students are having trouble paying for necessities which makes completion of their education more challenging,” said Sophia Mantheakis, the homelessness and hunger alleviation coordinator at SOU. “[The food pantry] won’t fix the problem permanently but it will set them up more properly.”

Fourty-five students use the pantry at least once last term, with half of those students coming to the Food Pantry on a weekly basis. By the end of the term, 660 pounds of food had been distributed to students in need.

The Food Pantry is open Tuesday and Thursday from 2 to 4 p.m., or students can set up an appointment with pantry staff via email at foodpantry@sou.edu. Students must fill out a waiver on their first visit and verify that they are a currently enrolled at SOU before using the pantry.

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