You are here: American University News Help Stock the Market’s Shelves

Student Life

Help Stock the Market’s Shelves

By  | 

The Market—AU’s free food pantry, which helps Eagles feed their intellectual curiosity by nourishing their bodies—will reopen on January 17 in its new location, Mary Graydon Center (MGC) 134. This semester, the Market will also offer meat, tofu, frozen vegetables, cheese, and other perishable refrigerated and frozen food items donated by the AU community.

In the fall semester alone, 372 students experiencing food insecurity sought regular support from the Market. “We anticipate that number to continue growing,” said Melanie Pagan, diversity and student engagement coordinator, who oversees AU’s food insecurity initiatives. “Our goal is to ensure that every student has access to nutritious food, regardless of their financial circumstances.”

According to a March 2020 survey from the National Center for Education Statistics, 23 percent of undergraduates at four-year institutions across the country—roughly 3.9 million students—are food insecure. Because of inflation and COVID’s continued impact, many still struggle to fill their plates.

AU students are invited to fill one grocery bag per week at the Market, which relocated as part of the ongoing renovations in MGC that support the new Student Thriving Complex. Stocked entirely by donors, the Market replenishes its inventory weekly with everything from produce to proteins to pasta.

In addition to meat, cheese, and frozen foods, the AU community is encouraged to donate nonperishable items—including gluten-free and vegan foods, as well as personal-care items like toothpaste, deodorant, and period products. An Amazon wish list features staples like pasta, beans, canned soup, and condiments, and those wishing to provide fresh fruits and vegetables can gift an Airlie community supported agriculture (CSA) share. During the fall 2023 semester, the Market received an average of 15 CSA shares per week, which provided about 1,400 pounds of fresh fruit and vegetables.

Financial contributions—which may be made online—are especially helpful, as they allow the Market to maintain a supply of bread, eggs, milk, fresh produce, and other perishable items during the school year.

“The support of faculty and staff is paramount in ensuring a caring and inclusive community,” Pagan said. “Contributions not only offer immediate relief to students experiencing food insecurity but also [enable] them to concentrate on their academic pursuits.”

The Market is open from noon to 7 p.m. on Monday and Wednesday and from noon to 4 p.m. on Friday in MGC 134.