by JENN MCCULLOCH
The Eagle Resource Closet has recently been awarded the Food Pantry Grant of $1,000 from Sodexo. The grant money has gone towards stocking the Resource Closet with food and items for students.
According to the Sodexo website, the goal of this program is to help eliminate student hunger on campus. Money from the grant should be used to help offset the cost of food and supplies needed for the pantry.
Junior history major Taylor Coleman, the coordinator of the Eagle Resource Closet, was happily surprised by the donation.
“It was very exciting because I didn’t know it was coming,” Coleman said. “When it came, it was a really exciting experience and really beneficial to the Eagle Resource Closet.”
The Eagle Resource Closet offers necessities for students that don’t have easy access to food, toiletries or clothing at no charge. Anyone is free to volunteer or give donations to the Closet.
The Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation works to ensure that children in the U.S. have consistent access to nutritious food.
“I’m extremely proud of this foundation because they don’t spend any of the donation revenue on administrative expenses,” said Rose Benedict, the marketing manager for UMW Dining. “Those expenses are paid for by the Sodexo corporation. That is not the case for most charitable organizations, which usually spend anywhere from 15% to 40% of their revenue on administrative costs.”
Benedict heard about the grant last September from the regional marketing team.
“When I got that news, I immediately thought of our Eagle Resource Closet (ERC), and I contacted [Leslie Martin] to see if they wanted me to apply for the grant on their behalf,” she said. “It was perfect timing, because Leslie said she had been searching for a source of funding (a grant or something), and hadn’t found anything.”
After collecting information from the university and the Resource Closet, Benedict submitted the application on Sept. 14.
“We were notified on Dec. 9 that our Eagle Resource Closet had been chosen to get a $1,000 grant, one of 89 grants awarded by the Foundation,” said Benedict. “Leslie notified me on Jan. 20 to let me know they had received the funds.”
Leslie Martin, associate professor of sociology, is the supervisor of the Resource Closet and faculty director of the Center for Community Engagement.
“Sodexo, they are an amazing partner of the Resource Closet,” she said. “They do food drives twice a year, maybe three times a year, and they split the donations between us and the food bank every time.”
While normally the volunteers would receive the donations given to them and place them on the shelves, since this was a monetary donation, the Resource Closet team went out to purchase supplies themselves.
“I hope to keep the donations and stuff in the Closet more stocked for students to use,” said Coleman.