Starting college can be an enormous financial burden for many students. While they are getting an education they value, making ends meet can be a struggle, especially for those living independently for the first time.
MSUM is assisting students with this burden by establishing the Dragon Pantry. The Pantry provides nourishing food selections, personal care items, and household products for the MSUM community in a welcoming, nonjudgmental atmosphere. They believe no student should worry about food insecurity.
Ryan, a current MSUM student, values the atmosphere the Dragon Pantry offers.
“I had a good experience getting my necessities,” Ryan says. “The fact that they don’t question much made me feel better because there was less contact, which caused less judgment.”
The Pantry is located at Flora Frick 154 and is open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Pantry is open even over breaks and holidays. There are no limits on how often someone can visit.
“It’s valuable for students on campus,” Ryan said. “During breaks and over the summer, it’s a good resource for international students who stay in the area. Most of them don’t have jobs.”
Ashley Berkenpas, case manager for the Dean of Student’s Office, manages the Dragon Pantry. She keeps the shelves stocked and helps student organizations run food drives to help the Pantry. Campus organizations like Student Athlete Advisory Committee, Dragon SOS, Psychology Club and Psi Chi have all participated in food drives.
While getting established, the Pantry is still facing challenges and adapting to needed changes. Listening to feedback and receiving donations is critical for both MSUM students and the Pantry to thrive.
“It’s still limited,” Ryan says. “There needs to be a push to receive ethnically diverse food options for students.”
The future is hopeful for the Pantry. “The plan is to expand numbers in order to have extra space with goods stocked in a fridge and freezer,” Ashley says.
If you are experiencing a crisis, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit mnstate.edu/basic-needs/ for help today.
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