Lion's Pantry continues food insecurity support during holiday season

Elizabeth Winter
December 06, 2018

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The holiday season is a time of giving and thinking of others. In the season of giving, students have the opportunity to give back to their peers in need by donating food and toiletries to the Lion’s Pantry.

Located past East Halls and the Katz Law Building, in between Lion’s Surplus and the Blue Band Building, the pantry, established in 2014, accepts non-perishables and toiletries which are then provided to graduate and undergraduate students. The pantry also accepts monetary donations through Giving to Penn State.

In addition, the group set up a "cub" pantry in the Pasquerilla Spiritual Center. This mini pantry provides another location for students to pick up items on campus.

This past summer the pantry also began partnering with Abba Java Coffee House, located at 299 Locust Lane in downtown State College, in an effort to better serve students who cannot make it to the pantry’s location on campus. Students may pre-order food bags for pickup at the coffee house.

Lion’s Pantry Vice President Sayre Bradley says that these collaborations help students who have trouble accessing the pantry due to their location, and provide a more discrete way to get the help they need.

“We do everything we can to make sure the pantry’s a safe space and that people are comfortable when they come to us,” Bradley said.

Bradley says there is a significant spike of student usage during the holiday season, with the pantry serving 30 to 40 students in a week, not including those who use Abba Java.

For those students remaining in State College over break, Abba Java is providing "break boxes" to those who have requested one. Along with the help from Lion’s Pantry, the break boxes are designed to help students get through the winter break, as some resources may not be open or available during that time.

“Food insecurity is such an unseen issue, especially on college campuses,” Bradley said.

Bradley says that part of their mission is providing sustenance to students who are struggling with food insecurity, poverty, or other issues. But what sets the Lion Pantry apart from other college food pantries is that they also aim to educate people on these topics.

Both the pantry and Bradley encourage students to spread the word about the help available.

“Let students know it’s okay to come to us for help. We’re here to help students and we’ll never turn anybody away,” Bradley said.

In a fall 2018 update on their Pantry Needs page, the pantry stated they have an excess of macaroni and cheese, canned fruits, vegetables, soups and baked beans. The pantry currently has a shortage of breakfast cereals and oatmeal, snack foods, rice, condiments and seasonings.

Items can be dropped off at the pantry during open hours on Tuesdays and Fridays from 3-5 p.m. Students can also sign up to volunteer their time at the pantry during open hours on the Council of Lionhearts volunteer page. The pantry will remain open this week and finals week with regular pantry hours.

Penn State students with a current ID are eligible to use the pantry. The pantry is located at Services Road, past East Halls and the Katz Law Building, in between Lion’s Surplus and the Blue Band Building. Students can get to the pantry by using the campus shuttle.

Last Updated December 11, 2018