RamPantry, a student-run food bank established to ensure food security to the VCU community, is celebrating its two-year anniversary this fall.
Open every Wednesday and Thursday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Student Commons, RamPantry serves over 60 members of the VCU community every week. Customers range from students to faculty members — as long as you have a VCU I.D., you are eligible to get groceries from the pantry.
The pantry was founded in 2013 by student affairs advisor Terrance Walker. According to the organization’s president, junior psychology student Andrea Nguyen, Walker was aware that many students on campus were “food insecure.”
“(Walker) realized that a lot of students didn’t know when their next paycheck was going to be, so he decided that there was definitely a need for an organization like this,” Nguyen said. “He collaborated with the Wellness Resource Center and got some students together to get things started.”
The Wellness Resource Center then collaborated with the Catholic and Baptist campus ministries to hold food drives whenever possible. Two years later, RamPantry is sponsored by Food Lion, Shalom Farms and Panera Bread to provide nutritional options.
The organization also works with multiple nutritionists through The Well to ensure that the Pantry consistently has healthy groceries in stock.
Nguyen said that she is extremely happy with how the pantry is run, although her hope is for the organization to eventually achieve nonprofit status.
“We’ve been very fortunate with our sponsors and have received thousands of dollars in donations — but a lot of businesses don’t want to donate to us because there’s no tax deduction for their donations,” Nguyen said. “If (RamPantry) had a 501 C3 status, I think that would change.”
Students interested in volunteering with RamPantry, or for more information on the types of food to donate, where to donate or how to host a food drive of your own, visit vcustudentfoodpantry.com
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