Open Shelf Campus Pantry
Details on Open Shelf hours, location, and contact can be found here.
With rising costs of living, student loan debt, and tuition, it should be no surprise some college students just don't have the money for basic necessities.
New this semester, the University Nebraska-Lincoln has a pantry to help students with hygiene products and canned food. The Open Shelf is brand new to the university, but talks really began in January when administrators realized there were students who were struggling to pay for hygiene products, but especially laundry detergent."
"In reality, this is a difficult issue, which is why this is not talked about much," said Pastor Adam White of the Lutheran Center on city campus.
The Lutheran Center partnering with the university on the Open Shelf program, which is open to any student regardless of income.
"It was a surprise for us to have an opportunity to engage in an activity for justice and advocacy on campus," said Pastor Adam White.
Coordinator and Americorps volunteer Megan Rudolph helped gather donations such as detergent, deodorant, toothpaste, and feminine hygiene products along with canned goods. She's trying to fill up the shelves, and the response is going well.
"I've had UNL faculty approach me and emailed and reached out and supported financially or materially," said Rudolph.
It's opened Monday mornings from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. and Friday afternoons from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Donations can be dropped off during the week from 8 to 5. Since this campus pantry is brand new, most students don't even know it exists.
"I think it's an awesome program started up. There are multiple students who are not in well-off situations," said Nate Stevens, a UNL sophomore.
UNK has a similar pantry that started last year. Monica Mueller with the Big Blue Cupboard says it's used daily. Mueller says the UNK pantry goes through 1,000 products a semester.
Those involved at UNL hope their pantry will grow as more students reach out for help. Although, Open Shelf is housed a t the Lutheran Center on campus, it is open to any student of any faith.
The university started the program with a one-time cost of approximately, $5,000, according to Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Dr. Juan Franco. Dr. Franco says the goal is to have Open Shelf be self-sustained through donations.