The IU Southeast emergency food pantry, the Grenadier Grab ‘n Go, is now equipped to store frozen and cold food items. Thanks to financial donations from the community and alumni, IU Southeast gained two new cold storage appliances. Previously, the pantry could only house non-perishable food and personal items.
The pantry has also recently partnered with Dare to Care, a nonprofit organization dedicated to fighting hunger, and now offers a more robust stock of food.
The Grenadier Grab ‘n Go, located in the Counseling and Psychological Services suite in UC South Room 207, was created in 2015 by Counselor and Care Manager Karen Richie to help struggling students meet their basic needs. When Richie joined the IU Southeast staff, she knew this would be part of her role, along with counseling. With a background in social work, and knowledge of the resources available in the region, Richie and a small group of faculty and staff developed the logistics for the pantry.
“We don’t know what is happening in another person’s life unless it is shared or we’re close to the person, or we ask the right questions,” said Richie. “They might be struggling, and we wouldn’t know. The food pantry addresses such a basic need that may seem so simple, and we take for granted.”
According to the results of a 2020 campus climate survey, 1 in 5 IU Southeast students who responded have experienced food or housing insecurity.
“The concept of having high-performing students experience such high impact of financial barriers in order to complete their schooling is not a new situation,” said Richie.
Students can fill out a private online request form and stop by the counseling office during regular office hours to pick up food. They can also pick up a prepackaged box of food in the IU Police Department, located in UC North Room 027, or schedule an appointment to shop from the pantry. Students do not have to demonstrate need.
“If you’re on campus and you’re hungry and need food, come and select some items,” said Richie. “Even if it’s just a need for a day.”
The new partnership with Dare to Care is especially important as communities across America are committing to fight hunger this September as part of Hunger Action Month, an annual, nationwide campaign to inspire people to take action and raise awareness of hunger. For more information on how to get involved with Hunger Action Month, visit Dare to Care’s website.
“We want our students to know that we recognize that higher education is not solely focused on providing education, but also accepting the commonality of humans and basic levels of self-care,” said Richie. “I never want a student to decide between putting gas in their car to get to work and class or going to the grocery store. Put the gas in your car, and come get food from us.”
Donations to the Grenadier Grab ‘n Go can be made online, or items can be dropped off at the Office of Counseling and Psychological Services.