University of the Ozarks has received a $25,000 grant to create an on-campus food pantry for students beginning in the Fall 2020 Semester.
The grant is from the Roy & Christine Sturgis Charitable Trust, Bank of America, N.A., Trustee, in Dallas, Texas.
Rev. Jeremy Wilhelmi, University chaplain and project director for the initiative, said the grant will be used to set up an endowment to fund a food pantry in a still-to-be-determined location on campus. The food pantry will be accessible to students throughout the year, including during breaks throughout the academic year.
“The pantry will help address food insecurity among our campus community,’ Wilhelmi said. “It will provide emergency food relief for students throughout the year. While students must overcome many obstacles along the way to graduate from college, the pantry gives me hope and confidence that food and nutrition will not be one of those obstacles for our campus community.”
Wilhelmi said the grant will help accomplish two main goals in addressing food insecurity on campus.
“First, it gives us the funding we need to set-up the pantry with adequate shelving, refrigeration needs, and food purchases to stock the pantry for the first year of operation,” he said. “Secondly, the vast majority of the funds will be used as an endowment to help financially support the financial needs of the pantry every year. When we decided to pursue the pantry, we realized early that to be successful we could not be solely dependent upon donations. The endowment will allow us to operate year to year with some financial consistency.”
Wilhelmi said the pantry will partner with the University’s Food for Thought Garden as well as with local food banks and business partnerships to help keep the pantry stocked.