Students in need receive help at food pantries


Written by Destiney Burt/FIUSM Staff

Ludovica Virgile, program assistant for Student Health Services at the Biscayne Bay Campus, said that some University students can’t afford a plate of food.

In response to their poor diet, the BBC Student Health Services, the Center for Leadership and Service and the Students for the Poor Club opened a food pantry on December 2013 where these students receive support. It has since then expanded to the Modesto A. Maidique Campus.

“There are time when students just don’t know where their meal is going to come from for the week, let alone just tomorrow, and we are here to help them out,” Virgile said, “We make sure they have their breakfast, [that] they have their proteins [and that] they have carbs.”

Students in need can pass by the Wolfe University Center room 307 and collect a week’s worth of nutritionally balanced food items. A nutritionist leaves a guide chart that is followed for each donation.

According to Virgile, they have had aid from BBC Campus Life and the WUC administration. They have also made community partnerships from which they have received food donations.

However, she said they have yet to receive full funding support from the Student Government Association. According to a message from BBC Student Government Council Chief of Staff, Elina Sibony, this may be due to budget hearings and state allocations for the University.

Last semester, according to Virgile, the SHS Wellness Center held a food pantry challenge which brought in the largest amount of donations.

Many departments participated in the challenge, bringing in non-perishable food items such as grains and canned foods. The winner was the BBC Enrollment Center which was prized with a catered lunch.

Because of its success, the SHS are planning on having another fundraising event this year.

“We received so much food. Our pantry was packed. We almost didn’t know where to put so much of our donations,” Virgile said.

According to Virgile, both students, faculty and staff are welcomed to donate at the several bins located around campus. They are at the WUC, Academic Building One, the BBC Hubert Library and the SHS Wellness Center.

The pantry is currently managed by staff, but they are opened to work with student organizations.

“The sky’s the limit, but right now we haven’t planned on having it a student-run type of pantry, but of course we are open to any type of ideas or student organizations that want to partner with us,” Virgile said.

She also said that even though they have had successes, they also run low in food from time to time.

“I wouldn’t say it’s successful or unsuccessful. We’ve had our peaks and we’ve had or lows, but there is a need for it. That’s the fact of it,” she said.

MMC also has their food pantry which is located in the Deuxieme Maison room 166. It is run by the Center for Leadership and Service and staff and student volunteers.

“We do have a few of our staff members who help work with it and run it, but we rely on student volunteers to actually staff the pantry during the times that it’s open,” said Joanna Garcia, Assistant Director for the Center of Leadership and Service.

“I would definitely want to use it. I think it impacts students quite positively,” said Angel Runez, a freshman hospitality major.

“Honestly, as college students, we struggle,” said Alanys Alcantara, a freshman on a pre-physical therapy track.” “It’s nice knowing there’s food offered that we don’t have to pay for,” Alcantara said.

The food pantry is open at the BBC Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 pm. MMC campus food pantry is open Tuesdays at 10 a.m. to noon and Wednesdays from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

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