USF’s food pantry helps fight hunger amid virus pandemic

Coronavirus

TAMPA, Fla (WFLA) – The coronavirus pandemic has left many college students jobless and hungry, but a local university’s food pantry is stepping in to help their students.

The struggle is already real in college and the pandemic isn’t helping. Schools are closed, which means dining halls are closed, students are without jobs and now some wonder where their next meal will come from. The University of South Florida’s Feed-A-Bull pantry is stepping to help ease those student’s worries.

“Food insecurity effects a lot of people especially college students,” Registered Dietitian, Stacey Struhar said. “They’re going to school, trying to work, sometimes multiple jobs, some of them are families and they have children so to be here and provide that backup and give people food when they may not have other options is why we are here.”

Feed-A-Bull is USF’s food pantry and it has been open for the past five years. The pantry provides free food and meals to students. Even though campus has shut down due to COVID-19, Feed-A-Bull is staying open. They want to make sure no student goes hungry even in the midst of a crisis. Since the pandemic, Feed-A-Bull has seen double the amount of students utilizing their services.

“The need has definitely elevated for our students to get food from all the food groups,” Struhar said. “It’s important that we continue to do it to make sure they get the nutrients and energy to still be successful in their classes.”

During this time, Feed-A-Bull is practicing social distancing and taking extra safety protocols. They clean and wipe down all food items before giving them out, volunteers and staff persons wear gloves and masks if they want and they pre-pack food to-go bags instead of having students shop in the pantry. They have even set the bags feet away from each other and are using technology to complete the free transactions. Extra volunteers are also helping out during this difficult time.

“This is a stressful time for students knowing that classes are online, some students don’t have jobs anymore, so to know that a huge weight has been lifted off your shoulder is necessary,” said volunteer, Demi Odukora.

Feed-A-Bull’s new hours and location are the following:

Temporay location: SVC Breezeway, near offices of Registrar and ID Card Services.
Monday: closed
Tuesday: 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Wednesday: 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Thursday: 3 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Friday: closed

For more information on Feed-A-Bull, click here.

USF also has a fund where the proceeds are going to students impacted by the pandemic. They have raised more than $100,000 thus far. For more information on these efforts, click here.

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