COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio State graduate Nick Fowler says he's always wanted to give back to the Buckeye community.
- The Buckeye Food Alliance says thousands of OSU students struggle with not knowing where their next meal is coming from
- The term is called “food insecurity” and it affects millions of people in America
- OSU has opened its second food pantry at St. Stephen’s Church, located at 30 West Woodruff Avenue in Columbus
The coordinator of the student-run Buckeye Food Alliance and grad student himself, says it was only natural to expand the successful pantry, which opened in 2016.
“The pantry in Lincoln Tower is kind of on the southwest portion of campus, where this is more in that northeast corner, so it really allows students to, regardless of where they are living, where they're more comfortable commuting to or from or walking with their groceries, they really have better access to the food pantry itself and all the services that we offer,” said Fowler.
The St. Stephens food pantry location opened Monday and carries both fresh and non-perishable foods, as well as personal care items.
Fowler says more than 1,200 undergrad and graduate students visited the Lincoln Tower pantry in 2019.
Buckeye Food Alliance says 15% of Ohio State students and non-traditional students struggle with what they refer to as “food insecurity”.
“A lot of our students are parents as well, they have children at home. Maybe they're living in an apartment, they're commuting here. So, to know that we are not only helping feed students here on campus, maybe that next generation of Buckeyes as well…you can't help but smile when you see the students and their gratitude,” said Fowler.
Students Spectrum News 1 spoke with say they were surprised by the fact that thousands of students in the OSU community may be struggling with food insecurity.
“It's a well-developed area, just not expecting so many people to have trouble with that particular aspect of life. I think that's a very valuable service to have for the less fortunate people,” said OSU graduate student Taylor Hamby.
“Having this opportunity to know where your next meal is going to be, that's awesome,” said OSU sophomore student Kylie Pinson.
Buckeye Food Alliance has also received help from partners MidOhio Foodbank and student organization Best Food Forward, and there are about 25 student volunteers between the two pantries.
For Fowler, who plans to graduate this summer with a master’s in public health, says he wants to make sure students have the same positive college experience he has had.
“We know if they're here at Ohio State, they've been successful inside the classroom. And they've probably done a lot outside the classroom as well, to give back to their communities. The least we can do is give back to the students and make sure they have a great experience while they're here,” said Fowler.
St. Stephens Church is currently accepting donations.
For more information, check out the Buckeye Food Alliance website.