Storing up for a cause, one donation at a time

Departments across campus fought food insecurity by collecting 5,084 items through Pack the Pantry. 

13.5 percent of the national population struggles with poverty and hunger and 18.5 percent of Brookings population struggles as well. 

Staff working in the SDSU Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning (CETL) and SDSU CETL Advisory Team helped sponsor the Pack the Pantry challenge to keep the shelves at the Harvest Table stocked.

The event was started by members of the CETL program to connect faculty members with the community. Kevin Sackreiter, CETL director and assistant professor, said this would be the second annual Pack the Pantry challenge with the Brookings Harvest Table.

Trophies are handed out to the winner in three categories: Academic Department, College and Non-Academic Unit.  

The winner for the academic department category was Chemistry with 1,037 items, the college category was Arts and Science with 3,093 items and the non-academic unit was Facilities and Services with 1,216 items.

There were twenty-four different departments across campus that participated in donating items such as canned meats, macaroni and cheese, peanut butter, canned soups, canned fruits and vegetables, boxed pastas, pasta sauces and cereal. 

Personal care items, such as diapers, baby wipes, shampoo, dish soap, facial tissue and toilet paper were also donated. These items have been a struggle to keep in stock. 

However, any items, food or personal hygiene that have passed their expiration dates cannot be accepted.

Sarah Halsey, the secretary for College of Nursing, believes Pack the Pantry is a great help to the community. 

“It helps feed Brookings, helps the people that are less fortunate and that don’t have a lot of income,” Halsey said.

Pack the Pantry is not the only program the Harvest Table facilitates to ease those daily struggles. Every Monday night they provide a warm meal at no cost, and on the last Monday of the month, members from the Harvest Table hand out groceries to community members who need them. 

The meal is offered to anyone in the community looking for a hot meal and great company. 

The program ran from Oct. 17 through Oct. 28 and all of the items were dropped-off at the Harvest Table in the community room of the First United Methodist Church Friday, Oct. 28. 

Although not all departments had a big turnout, department members are still proud of what they were able to contribute to Pack the Pantry.

Geniece Wright, program assistant for the college of education and human sciences, said it has been a struggle to get a ton of items, but the department isn’t giving up.

“It’s our second year, I would like to see more, maybe double but it’s hard when our department is in four different buildings.” Wright said. “We are only getting started, though.”