On April 20, a soft launch for a food shelf took place in the kitchen of Carondelet Center for St. Catherine University (St. Kate’s) students. The shelf contains non-perishable and dry good items such as canned fruits and vegetables, rice, soup, as well as items for cooking, such as olive oil, spices, beans, rice, and jalapeño peppers. The shelf plans to be open from 2-4 p.m. on the first and third week of every month for its official launch in Sept. 2017.

Those who wish to use the food shelf can go in two at a time where they can shop for food. One grocery bag can be filled per visit. Those who are shopping for a family are allowed two bags.

The shelf was picked to be at an off-campus location for anonymity for students who need to use the shelf, but close enough for students to get there from campus, according to Josh Haringa, Communications professor, one of the St. Kate’s faculty members helping put together the project. The opening of the food shelf acts as a trial run to promote a safe space for students who struggle with food security.

The inside of the food shelf at Carondelet Center during stocking.

 

Haringa, along with Amy Mars, research and instruction librarian, and Jennifer Tacheny, founder of on the Carondelet Campus, all are a part of the food shelf as part of the Food Insecurity Project. As staff, they will be ordering food, receiving deliveries, and maintenance of the shelf through the soft opening. Members of the St. Kate’s Food Justice Coalition and local alumna are also volunteering to assist. However, Haringa mentions that he applied for Assistant Mentoring Program (AMP) funding so a student could take over. Another student will also hold a Career Ready Internship with the shelf.

Mars explains that St. Kate’s is becoming more active to make sure that students feel secure when it comes to knowing where they can get their food. Healthy snacks are located around campus. On the St. Paul campus, students can find snacks in the library and the Health and Wellness center. To-Go snacks are located in Access and Success and Media Services. On the Minneapolis campus, snacks are located in the Multicultural and International Programs and Services (MIPS) office.

 

For students interested in using the shelf, “temporary parking is available in Carondelet Lot during food shelf hours,” Tacheny states.

Josh Haringa, Amy Mars, and Jennifer Tachney at the stocking of the food pantry.

 

When talking about the need for the shelf, Mars explained that 40 percent of St. Kate’s undergraduate day students are eligible for s. According to the U.S. Department of Education , “the Federal Pell Grant provides need-based grants to low-income undergraduate and certain postbaccalaurate students to promote access to postsecondary education.” The Pell Grant is different than a typical loan because it’s not repaid.

For this current iteration of the project, they get support from the Food Group Organization, a “full-service food bank” which provides healthy foods for food shelves in the state of Minnesota. Through the online marketplace, “$1 can purchase 10 meals,” according to the food shelf proposal.

Because of the involvement with the Food Group, the Carondelet food shelf is not asking for donations of food. Haringa describes wanting to make the shelf have a grocery store feel, where there are many of the same items. The Food Group can supply the food shelf with healthy foods so that shelf users can “shop around” for their groceries, according to Haringa.

Though food donations are not currently being accepted, those who want to help the Carondelet food shelf can by donating reusable grocery bags for clients to use while doing their grocery shopping.