The campus food pantry has fundraised for necessary resources, filled its shelves with a bounty of nutritious options and opened its doors to anyone with an Onyen and an empty stomach.
The group’s greatest need now is not food, money, or staff members —although all are always welcome — but participants instead.
For senior Roderick Gladney, too few people have traveled to the basement of Avery Residence Hall to take advantage of the food.
Gladney, Carolina Cupboard founder and chairman, admits that the pantry has not been successful in bringing in hungry students.
“We want to see more students come and use the pantry — that’s our biggest obstacle right now,” Gladney said.
He said both pride and a lack of publicity about the pantry have contributed to the lack of participants.
“I think it’s a Carolina pride thing,” Gladney said.
“The biggest problem we have is publicity about its availability. A lot of people don’t really realize that it’s an available resource to them.”
Shift leader Keagan Trahan believes because Carolina Cupboard is so new, members need to focus on increasing the organization’s publicity.
“I have friends all the time who say, ‘Oh, I’m so hungry, but I have nothing to eat’ or ‘I need food, but I can’t go grocery shopping right now,’ and I try to tell them that the food pantry is for situations like that,” Trahan said.
Although Carolina Cupboard is primarily devoted to those facing financial hardship, others are encouraged to use the cupboard as well.
“Even if they’re not necessarily food insecure, we still appreciate people coming in and utilizing us as a resource,” shift leader Zaid Khatib said.
Khatib notes that the best way to raise awareness is through social media outlets. Trahan, also on Carolina Cupboard’s fundraising board, said the group has started to used fundraisers as a tool for publicity as much as food collection.
Gladney said Carolina Cupboard is working hard to raise awareness of its resources. They are currently working on a marketing video that Gladney anticipates will be released within the next two months.
Despite the lack of participation, Gladney is confident there is a need for the cupboard on campus and is determined to see it succeed in helping the campus community.
“There’s always going to be a need for food for students, and there’s always going to be food poverty on this campus.”