A new food pantry in Ohio University’s Baker Center, in addition to the Baker Food Pantry on the second floor, will now target OU students in need.
The Cat’s Cupboard, as the student-geared pantry is called, was previously located on the third floor but has been moved to the fifth floor behind a door locked with an OU ID swiper.
The pantry was officially moved on Feb. 13, according to OU spokesperson Carly Leatherwood. That pantry will only be available to students, as opposed to the pantry on the second floor that is open to all members of the Athens community.
“We are maintaining the second-floor pantry, which is open to everyone,” Leatherwood said in an interview Feb. 19, “…but we do now have a (fifth)-floor pantry in addition to that for students who are struggling with food insecurity.”
The new location has refrigerator and freezer space, to allow storage of fresh produce and perishable meals, Leatherwood said. In addition, the ID swiper technology allows for better tracking of who uses the pantry, as well as increased hours of access.
Leatherwood explained that food pantries like the Cats Cupboard “typically operate in places with staffed hours, so allowing students to swipe in (to the new pantry) is kind of unique because they can swipe in any time that Baker is open.” Baker Center is typically open between 7 a.m. and midnight on weekdays, while classes are in session. Exact hours are posted on the doors to enter the building.
The pantry is only “part of the equation,” Leatherwood said, adding that the swipe-in feature allows the university to communicate with students in need.
“It gives us a targeted way to communicate with our students who have food-insecurity issues,” she said. Every student who swipes in to the pantry would be logged, and university administrators could send information about SNAP benefits, free meals on campus or around town, and other useful information directly to students who may need it the most.
Donations are always needed and can be dropped off in the Office of the Dean of Students, 345 Baker Center, according to the OU Dean of Students webpage.