by Katelynn Cooke | News Writer
Creating change can be as simple as a student and professor partnering together. Junior Dominique Oliver and Dr. Robert Francis, an assistant professor of sociology, started a food pantry this fall to provide support to Whitworth students who are food insecure.
Located on the first floor of the Lindaman Center, students can access the food pantry from the side entrance facing the library. A short walk down the hall leads to the bookshelf that Whitworth Facilities provided where students pick up food items they need. Thus far, staff members within Lindaman have been the main food donors.
“[We are just] starting small and then seeing where it goes,” Francis said.
Francis says the idea for the pantry came about last spring. Oliver approached him after a class and asked if he knew where students could find assistance with food insecurity.
Oliver is studying sociology and is on the Social Services & Community track. She transferred to Whitworth January 2020 from Regis University in Denver. At Regis, Oliver was actively a part of the school’s food pantry.
“I was involved in their pantry [which had] farms where we would get our produce,” Oliver said.
It was out of Oliver’s past experience and present need that she came to Francis.
“I came to Dr. Francis and asked if we had anything like that here. Both because I was in need and because I wanted to be involved with it. He recommended me to student services because they do like meals for students in need. But, we decided to also start a food pantry to help students,” Oliver said.
Francis says that with his sociology background, he was very sympathetic to food insecurity in general and was thankful Dominique kickstarted the project.
“I give Dominique credit for raising the issue of food insecurity and also then the pantry idea. Her previous experience gave me direction as well as her vision for this,” Francis said.
Francis asks students to treat the pantry with respect and be responsible, only taking what you need on the honor system. He also hopes to hear feedback for what would be most helpful to have stocked on the bookshelf.
To learn more about how students can receive support for food insecurity, log on to: https://www.whitworth.edu/cms/administration/student-success/