Knights’ Pantry causes confusion with one-visit-per-week email

An email reminding students about the Knights’ Pantry one-visit-per-week policy has caused confusion on campus. 

The Knights’ Pantry was first opened to students and faculty on September 8th, 2021.

During the past year, usage of the pantry has continued to increase with the rising advertisements of utilizing the pantry. With the greater usage of the pantry, students received an email on Monday, February 19th from the Pantry managers, stating, “A gentle reminder that all students are welcome to visit the Knights’ Pantry no more than once a week.” 

This email caused confusion among students as some questioned why the pantry is placing a limit on the number of times a student can visit the pantry a week.

Megan Camp, Director of Service-Learning and Community Engagement and Co-Chair for Knights Pantry, explained, “The once-a-week requirement isn’t a change! It’s always been the policy that students may fill one bag per week.” 

Camp explained that the email served as a reminder; however, it was news to many students.
During a Student Government Meeting, the topic was brought up during an open forum, and some students admitted they were confused.

One student said, “I have never heard of this policy. I know people who don’t have meal plans and go to the pantry when they need something to eat.”

Another student stated, “The pantry is really useful to me because I don’t have a meal plan.” 

According to Camp, the purpose of the Pantry is to “provide resources to alleviate food insecurity, improve health and wellbeing, ensure a reduction in food waste, and promote sustainability on campus.”

Camp revealed that during her time at Neumann, the topic of food insecurity was a recurring issue.

“No one took charge until Rina Keller and Mary Beth Davis moved the discussion forward and were able to get approval to open the pantry,” she stated.

The Pantry is currently run by a board including both co-chairs, Graduate Assistant Calia Burger, student volunteers, work-study students, and grant funded staff.

Roughly 50 students visit the Pantry each week. From the beginning of the Spring 2024 semester, there have been 134 students who have visited the Pantry. The numbers of visits and unique students have increased drastically, with nearly 1000 visits to the Pantry so far this 2023-2024 school year.

Camp revealed that the installation of a new ID tap system tracked the names of students visiting. With the new record keeping, it was shown that multiple students visited the Pantry every day, which prompted the blast email to be sent as a reminder for students.

Students are welcome to visit the Pantry; however, the intention of the Pantry is for students to come once a week and fill one bag full of items and return the following week.

The once-a-week rule was intended to give all students a chance to visit the Pantry throughout the week and have an equal opportunity to access all the items that the Pantry has to offer. The “2 of 1 type of item” rule helps distribute items for all students. 

Camp emphasized that “students are welcomed to talk to us about any concerns.” Despite the once-a-week rule, Camp stated that the Pantry is willing to make accommodations so long as they are aware of the circumstance.

The Knights’ Pantry is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is available for all students year round.

Camp revealed that the Pantry intends on working with the mailroom over the summer to allow students to order items and have them delivered to the lockers.

The Pantry is always looking to improve and for student suggestions with items. If you are interested in learning more about the pantry, visit their Instagram @knightspantry.