Buckeye Food Alliance is expanding to St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church on Woodruff Avenue. Credit: Courtesy of Buckeye Food Alliance

A student-run food pantry is extending its reach beyond West Campus to the corner of West Woodruff Avenue and High Street next semester. 

Ohio State’s Buckeye Food Alliance is planning to open a new food pantry early spring semester at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, although an official date has not yet been set, Joshua Debo, a fourth-year in neuroscience and president of BFA, said.

BFA is a student organization that serves both undergraduate and graduate students with a valid BuckID and does not require proof of financial need, according to BFA’s website. 

Debo said BFA is currently prepping the location and working on getting inventory and shelves set up.

“We have already gotten a team in there to help us out with some painting and to clean up the space,” Debo said. 

Debo said opening the St. Stephen’s location will increase accessibility to the pantry for students who live east of campus because the church is farther east than the current Lincoln Tower location.

Kali Krockover, a fourth-year in sociology and anthropology and vice president of BFA, said the organization decided to expand because it is serving more people at its current location, which opened in 2016 and is relatively small.

“St. Stephen’s reached out to us and offered this really great space for us to use as a new food pantry, and it’s a perfect location,” Krockover said. 

Krockover added that a lot of on-campus students who live in the dorms are closer to Woodruff than they are to Lincoln Tower, allowing for more people to use the pantry.

According to BFA’s 2018-19 annual report, the pantry served 411 families — 127 of which were new — and had a total of 901 individual visits over the 2018-19 academic year.

“It’s important for us to serve as many students as we possibly can. We are also looking towards serving graduate students as well,” Debo said. 

Krockover said the food pantry has a wide variety of options for their clients, depending on what is donated. Options include nonperishable food items such as canned fruits, vegetables, soups, beans and cereal, as well as personal care products such as shampoo and conditioner.

Debo added that the organization has been closely partnered with Best Food Forward, a student organization that helps provide bulk buys of produce, allowing students to have more outlets for purchasing fresh and more nutritious produce.

BFA has taken steps to help make its clients feel more comfortable when they visit the pantry by ensuring that each person has a smooth check-in process, creating a positive atmosphere with decorations, music and small talk, and adding a doorbell outside, Debo said.

Debo said BFA’s partnerships with the Collegiate Council on World Affairs and Undergraduate Student Government, as well as other student associations, have benefited the pantry.

“We’ve worked with all of them to help increase awareness about Buckeye Food Alliance just by sending the word out about us through their newsletters,” Debo said. 

The current pantry is located in Suite 150 of Lincoln Tower at 1800 Cannon Drive. It is open from 6 to 8 p.m. Sundays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays, and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursdays. It is closed on Friday and Saturdays. The second location will open at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church at 30 W. Woodruff Ave.