The Office of Wellness and Community Responsibility at Eastern Michigan University will be handing out free meal kits to students during the winter semester.
The Pop-up Pantries (PUP) will be held Feb. 10 and March 9 in Pray-Harrold near the cafe from noon to 2 p.m. 50 free meal kits will be handed out to students on a first-come, first-serve basis. The meal kits will contain non-perishable ingredients paired with a recipe, as well as a coupon for Swoop’s Food Pantry.
"Some examples of recipes we've offered in the past include minestrone soup, a parfait and chicken noodle soup,“ EMU student wellness coordiantor and adjunct lecturer Nicholas Pomante said. "We've held a total of four PUP's so far, and we gave away all 50 bags at each except for the third one, in which we gave away only 28. The food from the unclaimed bags was donated to Swoop's Pantry.”
Hosting the PUP's helps to provide nutrition education, serve students who don't know when their next meal might come, and spread awareness of Swoop's Food Pantry, a food assistance resource at EMU.
“How can a student focus on school when they're worried about where their next meal will come from?” Pomante said.
“By hosting these pantries, we hope to bring awareness to Swoop's as a successful resource on campus; that's our primary goal. By including a coupon to redeem at Swoop's, we can ensure that students who pick up a kit and redeem the coupon are aware of how to access the pantry.”
Another goal for this program is to provide nutrition education opportunities for EMU dietetics students, a chance to build skills that will help them in their future careers.
“We partner with the Dietetics students at Eagle Nutrition Services, who create the recipes and calculate the nutrition information to ensure we're fueling our students with nutritious recipes,“ Pomante states. “They help the Swoop's staff hand out the kits, answer recipe questions and provide nutrition education to patrons.”
The Office of Wellness and Community Responsibility is happy to fund and coordinate these opportunities around campus as a means of increasing student wellbeing.