IUPUC partners with Gleaners on food pantry

IUPUC is partnering with Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana to expand stock and outreach for the university’s Pride Pantry. Gleaners is Indiana’s largest food bank and works with 300 partner agencies in 21 counties.

“Pride Pantry users will notice a lot more fresh produce and healthier options,” said Shelley Arroyo, Office of Student Affairs assistant director. “We’re excited to pass on the benefits of lower, bulk pricing that Gleaners provides.”

Gleaners made its first shipment to Pride Pantry on March 6, and they’ve made deliveries every other Monday since, averaging around 700 pounds of food. The last shipment was on May 1, and they’ll scale back to once a month over the summer session.

“The fact that college students face hunger is surprising to many people, yet Gleaners and other Feeding America food banks have seen increasing levels of food insecurity on college campuses in recent years,” said Fred Glass, president and CEO of Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana. “Direct partnerships like the one between Gleaners and Indiana University for the Pride Pantry on the Columbus campus effectively address this issue and offer nutritional support to students at a critical time for their education and development.”

Carson Likens, IUPUC student and Pride Pantry worker, said he has been impressed by the quality of groceries received since the Gleaners partnership began. On a recent morning, he said grab-and-go snacks were the most popular items among pantry patrons, especially the refrigerated protein snacks that are easy to eat between classes. He added that shelf-stable dry goods are always popular because they won’t go bad sitting in students’ cars while they’re on campus or if they have a long commute.

“I’ve never seen so many people here, it’s really wonderful,” Likens noted.

While pantry workers are unpacking and shelving each shipment, they display produce and bakery items in the main area of The Landing to help draw in patrons and to make sure perishable items are taken—which hasn’t been a problem.

Arroyo noted that Pride Pantry relies on donations from fundraising and food drives, and the community has been extremely generous and giving. Previously, she’d fill up the cupboards with food donations and by shopping for groceries at area stores. She’s thrilled at how much further monetary donations stretch, thanks to Gleaners’ buying power.

As part of this partnership, the pantry expands its patronage from AirPark Campus faculty, staff and students to all of the local community.

“The need is up greatly, so it’s an ideal time to expand our reach and availability,” Arroyo said, adding that spring semester, the pantry gave a record 6,101 items, up from 5,737 during fall semester 2022, and 3,053 in spring semester 2022.

Summer hours for Pride Pantry are on Tuesday and Thursday or by appointment. They also offer a virtual shopping cart, allowing pantry users to place orders online that are typically ready within 24 hours (unless the pantry is closed or it’s over a weekend). Hours, online ordering and additional information can be found on the Pride Pantry website: go.iupuc.edu/pride-pantry.

Arroyo added that the pantry doesn’t limit items or visits, but they do ask everyone to write down their initials and number of items, which helps track usage so they can ensure adequate supplies and staffing.

To make a monetary donation to Pride Pantry, visit go.iu.edu/4NT5.

IUPUC’s Pride Pantry users will notice more fresh produce and healthier options, thanks to a recent partnership with Gleaners. Photo provided