Set to complete its 10th year on campus, Panther’s Pantry re-opened on the first day of classes, August 21st. Aiming to alleviate the burden of food insecurity among the Georgia State community, the pantry distributes food, hygiene and additional supplies for free. Students are limited to one weekly order, eligible for pickup across all Georgia State campuses. Leslie Mack, the Assistant Director of Panther’s Pantry, stated that the organization seeks to nourish, empower and meaningfully support students.
Any student, regardless of income level, can order from the Pantry’s online portal. They can pick between a standard or vegetarian food bag and choose to add a hygiene basket where they can opt for menstrual products. After their order is placed, students have the option to pick it up from the in-person pantry, located on the basement floor of 75 Piedmont Ave, or have it delivered to any of the organization’s fleet of Pantry Lockers, located across all Georgia State campuses. The lockers are easily recognizable with clear doors and the Panther’s Pantry branding all over them. Students will be notified once their order is delivered and can retrieve their bags by entering their Panther ID into the locker’s pin pad.
Usually predominated by non-perishables, Panther’s Pantry’s supplies have transformed. Stocked through donations, grants and partnerships, the pantry has recently seen an influx of fresher foods. Their Produce to Pantry initiative, available at the Atlanta and Decatur campuses, distributes locally-grown produce. A recent donation from the Summerhill Publix will contribute to this trend.
The pantry was established in 2014 by graduate students in the Nutrition Department in response to survey findings that 68% of GSU students faced food insecurity at some point during their university education. Initially, the organization only occupied a small room on the Atlanta campus before expanding into Alpharetta, Clarkston, Decatur, Dunwoody and Newton. Between August 2019 and March 2020, the pantry distributed over 23,000 pounds of food and over 1,000 pounds of hygiene products.
In addition to food and hygiene product distribution, Panther’s Pantry connects students in need to The Office of the Dean of Students for emergency financial assistance, case management and resource support for long-term needs such as housing, rental, tuition and academic assistance.
While Panther’s Pantry does not exclusively serve lower-income students, in the past, the organization has asked students who aren’t experiencing food insecurity to be mindful of their use of the pantry.
If you would like to donate to Panther Pantry, the organization accepts monetary donations, Kroger and Publix gift cards (to be sent to 75 Piedmont Ave NE) or asks that you buy items off their Amazon wishlist. If you would like to assist the pantry without making a financial contribution, Panther’s Pantry asks you to contact firstname.lastname@example.org for possible student volunteer opportunities.