The Eastern Michigan University community has joined in celebrating Eastern alumni group GameAbove’s recent $130k donation to Swoop’s Food Pantry.
The donation not only helps the pantry continue to provide no-cost food and necessities for the campus community; it also paves the way for new renovations.
“The GameAbove donation benefits us tremendously because it gives us funding to basically expand our space,” Andrea Kelly, Swoop’s graduate assistant at Eastern, said. “We have an area that we are transforming into a student lounge so students can hang out between classes, grab a cup of coffee or snack.”
The new lounge comes in addition to the pantry’s other renovated features, such as their thrift store and fresh produce section.
“We're seeing about triple as many shoppers now, and I believe one of the reasons is because of the renovations and increased accessibility of Swoop's,” Kelly said. “However, we also believe part of the reason is due to the inflation of groceries and more students wanting to utilize Swoop's as a resource.”
Celebration for the remodeling took place in Eastern’s Pierce Hall. Community members and donors of the pantry received tours of the pantry’s different sections. Along with the tour, students got to share with attendees stories of how the pantry provided them relief in their time of need.
“I was able to read a couple of quotes that shoppers allowed us to share about how the donors and their generosity impacted their lives,” Kelly said. “That was very powerful. One of our interns of two years, Colton Ray, even shared some statistics about how much the pantry has grown.”
Swoop’s Pantry is a student-led program that launched in 2015. Relying on donor support for sustainability, the program has seen a significant increase in student shoppers. With an average of 60 visits per day this year, the pantry served over 1,000 students for the 2022-2023 academic year.
“We support Swoop’s Pantry because we believe in this mission to be able to help students overcome the outside factors of life,” Khalid Walton, advisory board member of GameAbove, said. “The outside factors of life can challenge a student while they’re in school. For example, they may say I can't finish the semester because I have to go work. So to help provide that space in the pantry is something that can help alleviate some of those challenges students have.”
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