Food pantry providing support for students across campus


Photo by Hadel Abdelkarim

Student Mackenzie Dalton stands outside of the food pantry at Lindenwood University.

Hadel Abdelkarim, Reporter

Leave what you can and take what you need.  

The food pantry on campus has given students what they need from essentials like food and hygiene’s to help them throughout the semester.  

Reverend professor Nichole Torbitzky is one of the sponsors who helped with the idea of providing a food pantry on campus for students, along with former Dean of Students Shawn Williamson.  

This idea was inspired by a movement called the “little free library,” which is little boxes that people put out outside a library or in the community and essentially trade books with one another. This idea expanded to little free food pantries.  

“This was a cost-effective way to get to those people who have a little bit of need, so a little free pantry is not a long-term solution to problems of food security in the United States and in the St. Charles area,” Torbitzky said.

“Most of our students though live on campus have access to a meal plan, so what we figured is for those people say our athletes or people who are working weird hours and can’t for whatever reason get into the cafeteria’s that the little free pantry will help support them and their nutritional needs.”  

The food pantry is provided all year-round for students who need it. It is also provided for commuter students as well.  

Cans lined up at Lindenwood’s food pantry. (Photo by Hadel Abdelkarim)

“We figured that this could be a very helpful way to support our commuting student. So those students who might be non-traditional students they might have families, they might be working full-time jobs, and sometimes the difference between being able to stay in school and make it through this semester or having to quit because you can’t feed your kids is a little bit of food.” Torbitzky said.  

“A couple of boxes of macaroni and cheese and some canned corned that gets you through your next paycheck and then you can stay in school and your kids are fed or you are fed.”

The food pantry helps many students get through the school year, and it helps students not worry as much about school and their education.  

“We can support our students and help them achieve their educational goals, just by giving this little bit of support,” Torbitzky said.  

The food pantry started in 2019 and it runs entirely on donations from faculty and staff. The Center of Diversity and Inclusion overlooks the food pantry and makes sure the pantry is always stocked for students. 

Mallorie Peterson, an administrative assistant graduate student who works in the CDI office and helps overlook the food pantry, sees how the food pantry has been a big benefit to students on campus. 

“The benefit is that for students that actually don’t have the money and our sports students who can’t actually work. It gives them an opportunity of being like, oh, shoot, I need some deodorant or need soap. Especially the women’s student-athletes that complain about not getting enough food, to really maintain the diet or the workouts that they have to do all the time,” Peterson said. 

The food pantry is a great way to support all students, whether they’re from out of the country or even a different state.  

“I think it’s important to have these food pantries or things like that because we do have a lot of students here and a lot of students are from different states, they don’t have that support system. And this just gives them a little bit more support,” Peterson said.  

“I’ve been there, I’ve been in their shoes I’m like oh, I don’t have enough money for toilet tissue. Just small items, you know that to us would seem like not a big deal but to them, you know it means everything.” 

Mackenzie Dalton, a student that works in the CDI room, has gotten invested in the food pantry and knows how important it is for students.  

Student Mackenzie Dalton looks through a box at the food pantry at Lindenwood University. (Photo by Hadel Abdelkarim)

“I think it’s really important that we provide resources for students on campus. I think it’s a really good opportunity for people to get things that they need that saves them a trip to the grocery store, saves them some money, especially for students who don’t have a car and can’t drive,” Dalton said.  

Many students have tuition to pay for and some students may worry about paying for college and providing the things that they need. This shows how the food pantry has been a tremendous help to students like Dalton.  

“Personally, every penny I make has to go towards tuition, so it’s nice to be able to be behind the scenes and helping people out because I know what it’s like. I know that there are people on campus who have it worse than I do, and it’s nice to have it available to me,” Dalton said.