UC Clermont College, Colleges Around Cincinnati, University of Cincinnati

Clermont Bearcats Food Pantry Meets Critical Needs of Students

The campus food pantry opened in April and offers 'to-go bags' packed with essentials to students.

Date: 4/19/2018 12:00:00 AM
By: Amanda Chalifoux
Phone: (513) 558-8199
Photos By: Danny Kidd

UC ingot  
UC Clermont students (from left) Jeri Gibson, Todd Whoberry and Kayla Weisbrodt pack To-Go Bags for the Clermont Bearcats Food Pantry.
UC Clermont students (from left) Jeri Gibson, Todd Whoberry and Kayla Weisbrodt pack To-Go Bags for the Clermont Bearcats Food Pantry.

UC Clermont College students in need can now access critical food and hygiene items without leaving campus.

The Clermont Bearcats Food Pantry opened in April by offering students To-Go Bags that contain individual soups, canned fruit and meat, single-serve mac and cheese, granola bars and travel-size personal hygiene products. Bags have been placed with departments and offices throughout campus, including The Learning Center, Advising, the library and Veterans’ Affairs, and students can access the bags through any advisor or other trusted staff or faculty member.

The idea for the campus food pantry was first surfaced two years ago by Jennifer Radt, Senior Director of Student Affairs, said Sarah Robinson, the UC Clermont student worker who is helping launch the pantry.

“We wanted to create a resource that was convenient for students while minimizing the stigma for students seeking help,” said Robinson, who will graduate with her associate degree in social work this spring.

Similar resources are also available at UC’s Uptown and Blue Ash Campuses. According to research by the Urban Institute, two-year college students have the higher levels of food insecurity compared to their peers at four-year institutions.  

Community support for the Clermont Bearcats Food Pantry has been strong. The pantry has received one grant so far and has an ongoing partnership with Sam’s Club in Eastgate, with the store donating $100 a month of items requested by the college. Recently, more than $3,000 was raised for the pantry from college faculty and staff during UC’s Day of Giving, and students donated money and canned goods during the college’s annual Spring Fling event on April 11th.

Though Robinson will transfer to UC’s Uptown Campus to complete her bachelor’s degree in social work this fall, she plans to work with the food pantry there and hopes that the Clermont pantry continues to grow as an important resource in the college community. The next step for the pantry is to secure a permanent space on campus, which would not only help reach more students, but also give other students, faculty and staff more opportunities to volunteer.

“I’d like to see that students who need it are able to utilize the pantry, and that the students and others who volunteer are proud to help,” Robinson said. “I think the pantry has already proven that it has the potential to be a community-building experience.”