College students make choices all the time: which classes to take, which majors to choose, whether to attend an early-morning lecture or snatch an extra hour of sleep.
But for some, the choices are more consequential. A significant percentage of students on college campuses nationwide suffer from food insecurity, lacking adequate resources to feed themselves either nutritiously or at all.
Students in need have a new resource, thanks to many generous gifts. This support facilitated the fall 2016 launch of The Store, a student-run food pantry serving GW students. According to the Division of Student Affairs, 24 percent of GW students will face food insecurity at some point in their undergraduate careers.
“I’m first-generation American and the first in my family to go to college, so the topic isn’t alien to me. When I heard about [the Store], I thought, ‘Oh my goodness, this is something that I myself and my friends can benefit from.’”
– Melissa Lawrence, CCAS '19
The Store offers easy access to students who only need to fill out a form with their email address and GWorld number, with no need for names or financial disclosures. The Store allows students to choose food in private.
“In our user feedback, we received thanks from a girl who previously had to choose between buying textbooks and feeding herself,” says Saru Duckworth, ESIA ‘20, one of The Store’s volunteer managers.
Within a month after The Store opened, a visitor found an unsigned note in small, elegant handwriting on the back of a paper bag. “I just want to thank you,” the note read. “I walked in and I felt terrified. I cried at how many options there are and how much people must care to do this. Bless you all.”