Maverick Food Pantry received $36,000

The Maverick Food Pantry received a $36,000 grant to support its operational budget this academic year.

Megan Heutmaker, director of American Indian Affairs, said the grant will help maintain current offerings in the pantry as they have observed an increase in student usage of the service.

“This requires more food and also, our cost of food has gone up over the last couple of years here,” said Heutmaker. “So with the grant, we will be able to continue offering and allowing the same capacity of student usage for the rest of this academic year for sure.”

Maverick Food Pantry is a resource available throughout the year for students facing food insecurity. Heutmaker said research done several years ago shows  two-thirds of Minnesota State students face medium to high food insecurity. The space opened for students in January 2021 and continues to support students. 

Maverick Food Pantry receives  funding from Diversity, Equity and Inclusion as well as from Kearney International Center and Student Government. Heutmaker said the pantry almost ran out of money in the past year.

“There’s still some in our student allocation fee money, so we’ll be using that to get us through,” said Heutmaker. “With the increase in numbers, we’ve already spent a decent amount of money on food this year. We’re just trying to make sure we can make it to the end of the year.”

Heutmaker said she hopes to get more culturally specific foods available at Maverick Food Pantry. She said some requests are expensive, but they will try to fulfill students’ expectations.

“Because I know we have a wide variety of student population who use our pantry,” said Heutmaker. “And so I know a big request that we’ve gotten a lot of times is to have Halal meats available. I will see if we can get some of that into our space.”

Maverick Food Pantry partners with Second Harvest, a large food distribution center, which helps source food at a lower or reduced cost to pantries throughout the area. 

“Instead of me having to go run to the grocery store and load my car up with a bunch of food, we get pallets of food delivered to us because basically what Second Harvest does is collect food from all sorts of different sources, farmers, production companies and grocery stores,” said Heutmaker. “Then they make it available for us to see what is in the inventory.”

Heutmaker welcomes students to visit Maverick Food Pantry. 

“My favorite part is knowing that a student can have a choice of food that I think is good and healthy,” said Heutmaker. “Sometimes we get the ability to order a few fun things like ice cream recently. But it’s better than just eating popcorn and ramen because I’ve had students tell me, ‘Well, I don’t have to eat just ramen anymore.’ That’s very good.”

Every student can visit the pantry once a week. Students can also volunteer for the Maverick Food Pantry.

Photo caption: The Maverick Food Pantry received a $36,000 grant to support its operational budget this academic year.(Nathanael Tilahun/The Reporter)

Write to Amalia Sharaf at

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