School-wide food drive for Ram Pantry kicks off after Thanksgiving

With four donation bins placed around Sanger Hall and MMEC for nonperishable items, the two-week food drive will benefit VCU students experiencing food insecurity.

This year’s Ram Pantry food drive aims to bring convenient ways for all members of the VCU School of Medicine community to participate (Illustration by Uri Hamman, VCU School of Medicine)

By Anthony DePalma VCU School of Medicine

November 20, 2023

More than 30% of VCU students will experience food insecurity, according to a 2020 survey. This holiday season, VCU School of Medicine Human Resources is leading an effort to collect nonperishable food items for Ram Pantry, the university-wide resource that provides access to free, nutritious food for students.  

Available to all students on both the Monroe Park and MCV campuses, Ram Pantry recently celebrated its 10th anniversary by reopening in a new, larger space (930 W. Grace St.) that is open Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Organizers of the downtown storefront, which is stocked with everything from pasta and cereal to fresh fruits and vegetables, aim to narrow the gap between hunger and academic achievement. According to founder Terrence Walker, an administrative assistant at University Counseling Services, Ram Pantry has helped students stay in school, improve their GPAs and graduate on time, because “hungry students are more likely not to stay in college.”   

Arturo Saavedra, M.D., Ph.D., dean of the VCU School of Medicine, encourages students, faculty and staff to consider giving  

“We can’t take care of others if we don’t take care of each other,” Saavedra said. “Participating in Ram Pantry’s holiday food drive is an excellent opportunity demonstrate our commitment to caregiving by making sure our students can focus on learning rather than where their next meal will come from.”

How to contribute

From Nov. 27 – Dec. 8, four donation bins will be located across the MCV Campus:   

  • Sanger Hall, first floor by the elevators   
  • MMEC, first floor by the Office of Admissions   
  • MMEC, fourth floor outside the Dean's office   
  • MMEC, eighth floor near study areas 

All nonperishable foods are welcome, and items of the greatest need include cooking oils, canned fruits, canned meats, cereals (hot and cold), healthy snacks and pasta. 

Nonperishable foods may also be dropped off at the Little Ram Pantries located throughout the MCV campus: 

  • Larrick Student Center 
  • Health Sciences Library 
  • Gateway Building

Other ways to contribute include ordering items directly from the Amazon wish list and donating to the VCU foundation that supports Ram Pantry. 

Originally created as a student organization to help combat food insecurity at VCU, Ram Pantry has expanded into its own entity of the university under the Division of Student Affairs. Since its humble beginnings a decade ago, Ram Pantry’s efforts now include nine Little Ram Pantries across the Monroe Park and MCV campuses, a surplus program that distributes donated excess bread and produce each week and an ongoing collaboration with organizations such as Feed More, a regional part of the Feeding America network of food banks. 

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