At EMU, many student services were placed in difficult position as COVID-19 continues to affect all aspects of life. Among these services, Swoop’s Pantry, located at 104 Pierce Hall, experiences an increase in the use of their services and adjustment to social distancing practices.
Swoop’s Pantry is a non-profit organization providing EMU Students and their families food and other necessities. Initially, Swoop’s Pantry temporarily closed to the public while they configured new procedures to adhere to social distancing practices but now they are open to serve EMU students.
Shoppers are now required to fill out a form with their preferences emailed out to them before going to the pantry. The Swoop’s Pantry team then produces pre-made bags based upon those forms to creating a quicker pick-up and minimizing human-to-human contact. Hours vary weekly. This week they are open Tuesday, April 7, and Thursday, April 9, 12 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
“Normally, we allow shoppers to come inside the pantry one at a time. The space is actually set up like a grocery store, and we are a choice pantry and we come in and choose the items [the shopper] wants. We have food, baby foods, personal hygiene, household items and even a clothing closet,” said Summers. “But due to the circumstances, shoppers are now required to fill out a shop form online.”
According to Summers, the team cleans and sanitizes consistently and only team members with glove on are permitted to touch products.
“This is our first time something like this has happened but we did get to plan. As soon as we heard about the news the university will be closing,- and with all of the social distancing- we really took care to really formulate our policies in a way that students are able to meet their needs in a safe environment,” said Joelle Summers, graduate assistant for Swoops Pantry in an interview with the Echo.
With the increased demand, there has also fortunately been an increase in donations.
“Our biggest concern was not being able to provide our shoppers with everything that they needed. We do have an inventory system and it has been working, but with this event we were worried about not having enough for people,” said Summers. “But again, thanks to the generosity of our donors, that concern has been alleviated to some extent, and we still ask people for donations, if they can, so that students can get what they need and food won't be going to waste.”
Swoop’s Pantry can be reached at (734) 487-4173. For more updates and information, you can visit their website at www.emich.edu/swoopspantry. To begin using Swoop’s Pantry, you must be registered for the current or upcoming term and fill out the intake form.