Nourishing Minds and Souls

If you find yourself taking a walk around campus you may run across several things, a familiar face, squirrels scurrying through the trees, friends eating together, a campus academic circle built intentionally around a life of faith and a life of inquiry, or one of the many bricked paths that lead you to places of purpose. One thing that you may not as easily see is a struggle that many may be experiencing: food insecurity. In the past few years this topic has been making its way onto college campuses and our campus has long been attuned to the needs of the community. Campbell’s Campus Pantry has become a place that not only alleviates hunger but also aims to foster holistic growth.

Food insecurity among college students is a profound challenge, often underestimated in its impact. It permeates every facet of students’ lives, hindering their academic pursuits and overall well-being. The constant worry about where their next meal will come from can impede their ability to focus on studies, attend classes, or engage in extracurricular activities.

Located within the Office of Spiritual Life, our Campus Pantry serves as a vital resource for those facing food insecurity. Since its relocation to the Wallace Center last fall, the pantry has received overwhelming support from the Campbell family. Staffed by dedicated volunteers representing the diversity of our university community – including student organizations, faculty, and staff – the pantry provides free groceries, meals, and resources to those in need.

First and foremost, food pantries cultivate a sense of community and belonging. For many, accessing a food pantry isn’t just about obtaining groceries; it’s about finding a supportive network of peers and mentors who understand and empathize with their struggles. In this environment, students can form meaningful connections, share experiences, explore the beauty of food and the way it connects us all. Food nourishes the soul. I am sure you can recall a moment around the table or in the kitchen where you have experienced something larger than yourself, deep friendship, beauty in the taste of good food, and hard conversations.

The Campus Pantry serves as a hub for holistic support services. Recognizing that food insecurity often intersects with other challenges such as housing instability, mental health issues, or financial stress, we offer referrals to additional resources, including counseling services, financial aid, and housing assistance. Campbell is a place that values relationships and strives to help students succeed in this place and beyond. My colleagues in Student Life and Christian Mission do a wonderful job advocating for students who may need additional support. By addressing students’ multifaceted needs, we empower them to navigate obstacles and pursue their educational goals with resilience.

The Campus Pantry serves as a catalyst for spiritual growth and exploration. Amidst the chaos of academic demands, students find moments of stillness and introspection as they participate in acts of service and community engagement. These experiences spark meaningful conversations about ethics, justice, and the shared values that unite us as a community.

In essence, the Campus Pantry transcends its role as a distribution center; it is a sanctuary of hope, resilience, and transformation. By addressing students’ basic needs and nurturing a sense of community and spiritual exploration, the pantry contributes to the holistic development of every student. As we continue to prioritize student well-being, we recognize the importance of investing in and expanding access to resources like the Campus Pantry.

Being in my role and coordinating the pantry efforts I want to take a moment to say thank you. Thank you to those who have volunteered, financial contributions, donated through the Amazon wish list, dropped off a donation, coordinated a food drive, shared information about the pantry with the community, given time and effort towards our mission, and supported this work with prayers. As a member of the Camel community, I am deeply honored to be part of this vital work, and I am committed to continuing our efforts to support and uplift those in need.