Ohio State’s student-run food pantry opened the doors to its second location Monday.
Buckeye Food Alliance has partnered with St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church to serve undergraduate and graduate students in need of fresh, frozen, nonperishable and personal care items. The pantry is located in the church’s basement.
BFA is a nonprofit food pantry founded in 2016 with a vision of “No Buckeye goes hungry,” according to its website, allowing food-insecure students with a valid BuckID to pick up food and supplies with no questions asked. The original BFA location is in Lincoln Tower.
Aside from Nicholas Fowler, BFA coordinator, the pantry is run completely by student volunteers. Fowler was hired as the organization’s first full-time staff member in July through the Student Life Student Wellness Center.
Fowler, a graduate student in public health, said the new location is convenient for students who live in North Campus residence halls and those who might not have access to a car.
“I live in Taylor [Tower], so going to the one on the west side was a bus ride away and then hauling bags,” Charisma Yvette Christensen, a first-year in special education, said. “So this one definitely helped me with convenience and location.”
Unlike the Lincoln Tower location, the new location features a lounge area for students who use the pantry.
“We’re trying to — in [the] vein of accessibility — just make the space feel a little bit more homey and somewhere students can just come and relax,” Joshua Debo, a fourth-year in neuroscience and president of BFA, said.
The St. Stephen’s space will operate similarly to the original location, but will provide more hours and convenience for students around campus, Debo said.
“Not only will this second location increase accessibility to our pantry, but also awareness of our resources to many more students as they pass by,” Debo said. “This way, fewer students feel the impacts that improper nutrition can have on one’s education.”
Kali Krockover, a fourth-year in anthropology and sociology and vice president of BFA, said the church reached out to them last year and was eager to help however it could.
“St. Stephen’s has been very enthusiastic about working with us, as they too are passionate about the issue of food insecurity specifically in the OSU community,” Debo said.
The second space will also be useful for hosting education and volunteer events more often because it is significantly bigger than the original, Debo said.
“In the future, we hope to host more events for volunteers, visiting students and anyone else interested in nutrition education,” Debo said. “Topics could involve cooking while in college, macronutrient education, social determinants of health and others.”
Krockover said the pantry’s strong partnerships with Kroger, Target, Mid-Ohio Foodbank, and donations from various university and city groups, will keep both locations stocked.
A valid BuckID is all students need to visit the pantry on Mondays and Thursdays from 6 to 8 p.m. at 30 W. Woodruff Ave.