Maverick Food Pantry has a new more efficient process

Aiding students with groceries, Minnesota State University, Mankato’s Maverick Food Pantry has a new more efficient process in providing food.

Starting yesterday, the Maverick Food Pantry now will allow students to become shoppers themselves instead of having their groceries pre-packed for them.

Students will now sign up for a 15-minute time slot where they are able to pick out and package their own perishable and non-perishable items at the pantry.  With the increase in demand, nearly 200 students have been coming every week. 

“When we first started we had about 100 students per week in November of 2020 through the spring semester. Since then, we’ve seen that increase as the capacity of students on campus has increased,” Megan Heutmaker, who runs the operations of the pantry and Director for American Indian and Multicultural Center, said. 

The old process had students log into the food pantry’s website with their student ID and select their perishable and non-perishable items to be picked up pre-packaged to which they would later pick up.

With the influx of students, the old process became overwhelming, hence switching to where students can choose and package their own groceries.

“Right now we have capacity for well over 1,000 students per week to use the pantry. Our only limitation is making sure we have enough food to give out,” Heutmaker shared. 

Receiving support from the Student Government and Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Kearney International Student Services the pantry is able to function.

Second Harvest and Cub Foods are also donors to the Maverick Food Pantry, where the pantry picks up items from the two providers about three times a week, as the amount may vary due to food shortages.

“If you are hungry you are not going to do well in classes, if you don’t have food you will be more tired and there is a whole domino effect. The food pantry is one way I can help with that and it is really meaningful and these students are very grateful,” Heutmaker voiced.

Available for all students to use at MSU no matter their financial situation is something the Maverick Food Pantry wants students to realize and utilize.

“I know there is a stigma around food pantries but it is for all students even if they just need one thing they need they should take advantage,” Badariah Umar, Maverick Food Pantry Student Worker and junior at MSU, said.

Umar has been working at the Maverick Food Pantry since the summer as she stumbled upon the job after volunteering at a food pantry with Upward Bound.

“I think the new system we have will go well. Students will now choose what they want and work wise it will be easier for us since we do not have to pack all of them,” Umar said. “I see our new system going far.”

The Maverick Food Pantry is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Tuesday’s from 5 to 7 p.m. in the hall of the Carkoski Commons.

Header Photo: The Maverick Food Pantry is located in the Carkoski Commons and is open daily offering many groceries perishable and non-perishable for students. (File Photo)

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