Ohio University’s food pantry, Cat’s Cupboard, changed locations in order to uphold certain standards that allow it to keep its nonprofit status with the food bank.
To keep its status, it must be in a self-contained facility, where there is control of food going in and out. The new location requires student ID swipe access.
OU can order food through the Southeast Ohio Food Bank for 19 cents per pound. The food bank acts as a distribution center for several locations around Southeast Ohio.
“Ohio University strives to serve its students’ needs first, but community members can use the food pantry located on the second floor of Baker Center and come to OU to find additional resources within Athens County,” Kasey Arrowood, a graduate student studying social work, said.
The ID-only access of Cats’ Cupboard helps identify how much food a specific number of students are taking, so the university can better stock the pantry for students in need.
“Third-year students are more likely to use the pantry because they are focused on paying rent for off-campus living,” Arrowood said. “Graduate students may use the facility because they may not have a second job and may be are providing for their family with just a stipend and increased loans.”
The vendors who supply food to Culinary Services at OU will donate food such as fresh produce. The Food Studies classes will donate leftover frozen food and soups that are not sold in the Atrium Cafe, Kathy Fahl, assistant dean of students, said.
While Cat’s Cupboard is limited to those with swipe access, the Southeast Ohio Food Bank has requirements through the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services.
“The (eligibility) forms collect basic demographic and eligibility information, so we can pass it onto our state and federal partners and document that the food earmarked for people ‘in need’ (by the state) is going to such populations,” David Keller, the development coordinator for the Southeast Ohio Food Bank, said in an email.
In addition to the Cats’ Cupboard, students eligible for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, benefits can redeem them at Jefferson Marketplace. OU is working to identify more students who may be eligible for SNAP benefits and offer the program at more places around campus.
SNAP is a federal program that provides food-purchasing assistance for low- and no-income people living in the U.S. SNAP is administered through Job and Family Services at state and county levels.
“Students and grad students are always welcome to visit Athens County Job and Family Services on Route 13. There is an Athens County Transit Route that can take them there for free, and they can give out food to those in need,” Claire Gysegem, public relations manager for Hocking Athens Perry Community Action, or HAPCAP, said in an email.