Nearly a quarter of U.S. college students don’t have money or time to pay for affordable, healthy foods, according to a 2016 study, and many are not comfortable asking for help. So the medical school’s Student Academic Support Services (SASS) office is opening a satellite location of Knights Pantry, a food bank on the main UCF Campus.
The pantry is in the SASS office, Room 205, on the second floor of the Medical Education Building and will serve M.D. and graduate biomedical sciences students.
An initial canned goods drive, scheduled for September 25-October 31, aims to bring in more than 300 pounds of food and toiletries for students at the Lake Nona campus.
“One of the things that we promote here at the college is health and wellness,” said Janae Mason, the SASS coordinator in charge of the project. “So when we realized healthy eating was an issue that some of the students were facing, we started looking at opportunities to help.”
Faculty, staff and students are all urged to donate items. Students will be able to get items from the pantry anonymously.
Mason, a UCF alumna, has experience with the on-campus Knights Pantry. As an undergraduate mentor, she directed a student-run canned goods drive.
“I knew the process of what they were looking for in terms of goods, and how useful it was for students,” she said. “I was extremely excited to try to bring it here.”
Alexander Botchen, manager at the main UCF Knights Pantry, applauded the medical school’s new program. “Branch pantries allow students more of an opportunity to meet some of their basic human needs that go to making sure they can be successful in classes and maintaining optimal levels of wellness,” he said.
Those interested in donating may contact Janae Mason at Janae.firstname.lastname@example.org. For the initial drive, the SASS office is looking for the following items: