SAMU Pantry drive provided students with meals at a time of uncertainty

March 23, 2020 | Campus Life, Society, Science

Like many services on campus, the Pantry – a food hamper service provided by the Students’ Association of MacEwan University (SAMU) – is currently closed until further notice. But in its last week of service, it was able to provide a record number of students with food hampers, courtesy of a fortuitously timed food drive.

Back at the beginning of February, a group of volunteers from across the university partnered with SAMU on a food drive to fill the shelves of Pantry. At the time, they had no idea just how needed those donations would be. Six weeks later, as the COVID-19 pandemic left many students unemployed or in a state of uncertainty, the 2,451 food and toiletry items collected during the drive – approximately $4,000 of goods – were used to create 70 food hampers.

The hampers were distributed to 30 students (and served 40 individuals, counting students’ dependents). Each of those students was given two hampers, to account for the unprecedented difficulty many are facing right now. The remaining hampers were given to the MacEwan University Residence as contingency support for the residents who remain living there. All of those hampers were distributed over the course of a single week – typically, the Pantry serves about 50 students in an entire month.

Being able to serve so many during a crisis was only possible because of the food drive.
—Maura Frunza

“It was clearly meant to be,” says Maura Frunza, SAMU’s student services manager, of the timing of the drive. “Seeing a fully stocked Pantry was heart-lifting. More importantly, it ensured that we were able to support a large influx of students during these unprecedented times – being able to serve so many during a crisis was only possible because of the food drive.”

Though the Pantry is currently closed, clients can still request hampers through the online form, and applications will be held until the Pantry re-opens. Visit the SAMU website for the most up-to-date information on the Pantry and other services.

Get MacEwan University news delivered to your inbox.
Sign up for our weekly e-newsletter