By Sebastian Moronta Blanco, Staff Writer
Arnie’s Cupboard is dedicated to giving emergency food to Corsairs in need, and now they’ll be open longer to do so.
Since the fall of 2016, hungry Corsairs have had the opportunity to make use of the food pantry in the Main Auditorium building in room 208. It is sponsored by the office of Student Affairs, and aims to supplement the food supply for any students, faculty, or staff experiencing food insecurity.
The pantry is open to all members of the UMass Dartmouth community, provided they bring their UMass Pass, and as of March 8, they have expanded their hours beyond the normal 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. to add an extra hour on Mondays and Fridays. In addition, the pantry will now open one hour earlier, at 3 p.m. on Wednesdays.
The pantry can also be visited outside the operating hours, by appointment. To schedule an appointment, contact 508-999-8872 or send Arnie’s Cupboard an email.
The expanded hours are just part of the effort to reach further into the community, coupled with paper notices distributed across campus highlighting the changes.
Arnie’s Cupboard is largely clerked by volunteers, such as Christina White and Muhammad Farooqui.
White is a junior management major at UMass Dartmouth, and has been volunteering for several years with other institutions before finally getting the chance to volunteer for the pantry. On her first day volunteering for Arnie’s Cupboard, she expressed that she is confident that the awareness campaign is doing well.
“I hear about [the pantry] all over campus, I feel what they’re doing to get the word out is really going well.”
As this program is free of charge for the UMass Dartmouth community, first time users of the pantry are required to fill out a registration form, putting them in the system for future visits.
Farooqui, a first-year economics major, began volunteering once the pantry arrived on campus, and notices an average of three or four people visiting the pantry daily.
The pantry collects donations to stock its shelves, and typically look for non-perishable goods, such as canned goods, dry pasta and pasta sauce, shelf stable juices, instant coffee, vitamins, non-fat dry or canned milk, boxed potatoes, peanut butter, jam, spices, oils, and other cooking supplies.
Drop off hours for donations are Mondays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., and donations can be dropped off either directly at Arnie’s Cupboard or at the Center for Religious and Spiritual Life in Campus Center room 202.
According to Arnie’s Cupboard’s website, where one can find more information on the pantry as well as contact and schedule information, “College students who experience food insecurity often struggle to support themselves while working, attending classes, and dealing with other life issues. Arnie’s Cupboard hopes to minimize food insecurity while UMass Dartmouth students work toward completing their education.”