The Greater Lansing Food Bank gave out about 8 million meals to low-income residents in 2020, but the need for more help has not gone away. This year, administrators of Lansing Community College aimed to do something about that need for its students. LCC realized that some of its students were experiencing food insecurity, so it created “pop-up pantries” for its students. According to studies from 2022 from the Greater Lansing Food Bank, more than one in six people in mid-Michigan face food insecurity, and about 92,000 residents lack consistent access to food.
“Trying to address immediate hunger was the idea behind the pop-up pantries,” Dean of Student Affairs Ronda Miller said.
The pop-up pantries are available daily to LCC students with a StarCard at the Aviation Maintenance Technology Center, West Campus and the Livingston County Center, and every Monday from 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. at the Gannon Building in downtown Lansing.
Students are able to pick up free food such as soup and noodle bowls, Hormel microwavable entrees, fruit cups, granola bars, beef jerky, peanuts, Chef Boyardee lasagna, spaghetti or beefaroni, cheese and crackers, easy mac, Velveeta shells and cheese and Campbell’s To-Go soups.
“I think it’s awesome that LCC is able to provide students with free food who maybe can’t afford it otherwise,” LCC student Julie Eiler said. “It is great to see my school supporting their students like that.”
Former Lansing Community College student Maddy Warren agrees that this program is a very positive thing for the community.
“I’m glad to see my former college step up and help out its own people,” Warren said. “I hope that this can continue for future students in the coming years and become a norm for other places that have similar problems. I know that the Greater Lansing Area has had some issues with food insecurity in recent years, and seeing that my former school is leading the charge on helping to fight this very important issue is inspiring to me.”
While the program is still relatively new, only being 10 months old, Miller has seen successful numbers behind the initiative.
“Our numbers are increasing month-by-month,” Miller said. “We’ve seen some growth since we started the pantries in February of this year.”
Most of the volunteers in the program work for the college. Members of the enrollment support specialist staff and student affairs staff can be found helping out with the program at the downtown campus.
Miller says that they would like to continue the pantries for the time being and that they do not have an “expiration date,” but the goal of the initiative is to expand to become a brick-and-mortar food pantry.
If students are in need of help with an application for a StarCard, the pantry volunteers can provide information on how to become eligible for food assistance from the college or other organizations. For more information, call Miller’s office at (517) 483-1452.