BY CAROLINE STREETT
Gull Life Editor
What started out as a class assignment has grown into a student-run organization to combat the issue of food insecurity.
As a part of a three-semester course, Salisbury University’s Presidential Citizen Scholars students were tasked with the mission of targeting an issue in which Salisbury is impacted and then providing a hypothetical solution to that issue.
Out of this assignment, the concept of homelessness was examined, but seeing as it was such a broad-ranging issue, the group decided to narrow their topic and discovered that food insecurity was a problem on campuses across the country. Thus, the idea for Food for the Flock was born.
Secretary of FFTF Allen Reynolds was a part of the project from the start. As a member of PCS, he worked with other PCS members in studying the larger picture of homelessness. Reynolds explained that the issue of homelessness was so broad that the group was “having issues tackling it.”
The initial research on homelessness led the group to discover other prevalent issues on SU’s campus, which led them to the idea of prompting a solution to food insecurity at SU.
Reynolds gave praise to the now-recognized president of FFTF, senior Drew Lacouture.
“Drew emphasized that we are a team, but the team is nothing without a leader like Drew,” Reynolds said.
Passionate in seeing the pantry become a reality, Lacouture spent his summer conducting food drives and partnering with multiple companies, such as The Maryland Food Bank, in order to create a base for the organization to grow from.
Treasurer of FFTF Alexis Shank revealed that the pantry opened her eyes to the issue and made her want to take action.
“I didn’t realize how big of an issue this was when we first looked into this and now that I do know, I realize that I’m coming from a place of privilege, so if I can use my position to help others in a non-patronizing way, that’s what I want to try and do,” Shank said.
SU President Dr. Charles Wight attended the ribbon cutting and presented the organization with a monetary donation to express his support.
Wight expressed his pride in the organization due to its impact that it could make on the SU community as a whole.
“You know, food insecurity is a problem that is everywhere, and it’s not always easy to tell who needs support and who doesn’t,” Wight said. “The fact that Drew and his team have formed Feed the Flock and created this food pantry is a great service to all SU students and so I’m very very proud of them for doing that.”
When it comes to the future of the pantry, the members have high hopes for its impact on the SU community and they hope for it to become a legacy that will continue long after they are gone.
“My hope is that it [Food for the Flock] continues after we graduate,” Shank said. “Right now, our executive board is all seniors except for one, I believe, so I’m really hoping that it just takes off and that people keep it going after we’re all gone.”
The pantry is located inside the University Bookstore in the old Gull Card Office.
The pantry will be open to students from 7-9 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays. Students will be asked to fill out a form and give their Gull Card information. The students will be given two bags to fill with goods from the pantry.
Donations will be collected from 7-9 p.m. Mondays and noon-3 p.m. Fridays during the semester. The pantry is accepting of all students and Food for the Flock is encouraging all members of the community to donate what they can toward the cause.
In the ribbon-cutting ceremony that marked the official grand opening of the pantry, Lacouture emphasized his passion for solving the issue of food insecurity and his hopes to help those in need, and he hopes to see it become one with SU culture.
“I hope to see Food for the Flock become really a part of SU culture, not only from an admissions standpoint, but from a mental health and a physical standpoint as well,” Lacouture said. “A lot of students are in need in both big and small amounts and we are hoping to help as many students as possible.”
Featured photo by Brendan Link