UofL partners with Dare to Care to improve on-campus food pantry

Bryant Grant, student volunteer at the Cardinal Cupboard.
Bryant Grant, student volunteer at the Cardinal Cupboard

The Cardinal Cupboard, a campus food pantry for UofL students and employees, just got better thanks to a new partnership with Dare to Care, Louisville’s largest food bank.

The partnership will ensure that the pantry, which students started in January to address food insecurity, will have a wider array of healthful items to choose from.

Dare to Care will help stock the pantry with frozen proteins and fresh fruits and vegetables, along with some non-perishable items.

Erin Kurtz, Henny Ransdell and Melissa Sternberg picked up a bag of bagels, which are given to the Cardinal Cupboard food pantry.

The partnership will round out the Cardinal Cupboard’s offerings of donated non-perishables and personal hygiene items, along with foods from the Food Recovery Network chapter at UofL, which collects leftovers on campus such as bagels from Einstein Bagels and pastries from Starbucks.

“The real beauty of the partnership is access to the protein and veggies,” said Kathy Meyer, coordinator for Student Leadership and Service.

Meyer said Dare to Care also has provided food safety training to the volunteers. 

“We’re learning so much through them; it’s a wonderful partnership,” she said. “It’s made such a difference in what we’re able to do here.”

The partnership was forged when UofL President Neeli Bendapudi connected with Dare to Care leadership at a community function.

Dare to Care partners with nearly 300 local social service agencies, such as food pantries, shelters and emergency kitchens to distribute food in the region.

“Our community founded Dare to Care 50 years ago and our community’s continuing passion to ensure everyone has the food they need to be healthy still fuels our ongoing innovations and new partnerships. In this spirit, we are thrilled and honored to partner with the University of Louisville on this new endeavor that will improve the health and the future of so many who are struggling to have a bright future,” said Brian Riendeau, Dare to Care executive director.

The food pantry recently moved to SAC W314, a roomier and more centralized location. It now boasts a refrigerator that was donated by the Department of Theatre Arts. 

The pantry is open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. About 50 student volunteers staff the space, which is open to anyone on campus to take whatever they need.

Also beginning this semester, Aramark is donating 200 meal swipes (vouchers) to students in need. Students may apply for them through the Dean of Students Emergency Funds. A committee will allocate the vouchers based on financial need.

Food insecurity has emerged a pressing issue in college campuses across the nation.

Last year, the federal government published a 62-page study on college students and food insecurity, recommending colleges and state agencies do a better job providing information that would help eligible students obtain assistance from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

UofL brought the topic to the forefront last year in awarding its Grawemeyer Award in Education to Temple University’s Sara Goldrick-Rab. Her eye-opening research into the modern struggle to pay for college, published in her 2016 book, “Paying the Price: College Costs, Financial Aid and the Betrayal of the American Dream,” details students’ struggles with not only tuition and books, but also food insecurity, homelessness and lack of transportation. Her nonprofit research center, the Hope Center for College, Community and Justice, studies these issues to improve the lives of what Goldrick-Rab calls “#RealCollege students.”

“I’m delighted to see University of Louisville students acting to support their classmates’ basic needs,” Goldrick-Rab said. “For far too long, insufficient food and poor housing marked college life, undermining a learning experience that should be immensely rewarding. Louisville is a welcome addition to this national movement.”

Bryant Grant, student volunteer
Bryant Grant, student volunteer

Source: UofL partners with Dare to Care to improve on-campus food pantry (UofL News, Sept. 16, 2019)