Student secures grant to help open food pantry

Students at SIUC who are running low on food now have another means of filling their stomachs.

The Wesley Foundation Food Pantry provides food for students once a month, giving two bags of non-perishable food and toiletry items to any students who provide their student IDs.

The pantry is located at 816 S. Illinois Ave. in Carbondale at the United Methodist Church. It is open from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 5 to 7 Tuesday and Wednesday evenings. The pantry will only be open during

Loran Luehr, a senior from Steeleville studying human nutrition and dietetics, stands in the SIU student food pantry Tuesday at the Wesley Foundation in Carbondale. Luehr, who spearheaded the project, said there are several families that come to the pantry often. Although Luehr plans on attending graduate school at SIU, she said she will eventually hand the responsibilities of the pantry over to a few interested students. — Chris Zoeller | Daily Egyptian

daytime hours during the summer.

The pantry opened in January with the efforts of Loran Luehr, a senior from Steeleville studying human nutrition and dietetics. She said she secured a $1,500 Leadership Grant from the United Methodist Church in Carbondale and worked with the University’s Wesley Council, a Registered Student Organization and campus ministry.

Luehr said she is very proud of her work. She said she came up with the idea for the food pantry as a way to mix her major with her four years of work as a peer minister at the United Methodist Church.

Luehr said the pantry has had 45 visits from 28 different students at SIUC since it opened. She said this turnout has been what she expected and she hopes it grows.

The pantry donations have not been steady, she said, and donations are always welcome to
bolster the stock.

Luehr said even though she is one of the primary operators of the pantry, all individuals involved with the church have helped take charge when she is absent.

She said she plans on enrolling in graduate school next year and will pass the leadership roles of the pantry to someone else.

Sherry Smedshammer, director of the United Methodist Church, said the pantry has seen more donations and users.

Smedshammer, church director of nine years, said the pantry offers a variety of materials ranging from toiletries such as shampoo, body wash and hand sanitizer to items such as baby wipes and canned food.

She said if the pantry grows in donations and popularity, she plans on opening the pantry to students twice a month and providing perishable items such as
bread and eggs.

Jean Potcha, a Carbondale resident, said she has enjoyed the offerings of the pantry.

Potcha said she uses her husband’s student ID to pick up goods the pantry offers. She said she has only used the pantry once before but it provided her with plenty of items and she plans on coming back monthly.

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