What is UIS Cares?
UIS Cares initiative is dedicated to making sure that every UIS student has what they need earn a University of Illinois degree in a timely fashion. Research has shown that food insecurity among college students has a direct correlation with lower grade point average (Moroto, Snelling, & Linck, 2015).
Students at UIS comprise of a diverse population from many backgrounds, including first generations college students, children of immigrants, students from under-resource areas, and students with young children of their own. These factors and many others may lead to a student facing financial constraints while attending UIS. As Broton & Frank (2014) state, “these financial constraints can lead to difficult decisions about whether to sacrifice consistent access to food or secure and safe housing in order to remain in school” (p. 2).
UIS Cares can help bridge this gap and provide students with the fuel needed for their academic success.
How Can You Help?
UIS Cares needs donations of non-perishable food and supplies such as plastic storage bins, can openers, tote bags.
In addition, financial donations to the UIS Cares Food Pantry will allow the team to purchase items as needed and have the ability to respond quickly to shifts in demand. DONATE HERE!
For more information on supporting the initiative, please contact: Contact the UIS Student Volunteer Services and Civic Engagement Office at 217-206-7716 or email: UISCares@uis.edu.
Article on UIS Cares in the Springfield Journal Register: http://www.sj-r.com/news/20161020/food-pantry-started-to-help-hungry-uis-students
Food pantry started to help hungry UIS students
University of Illinois Springfield graduate student Malayzja Anderson knows that students like her are at times compelled to stretch their money and food in resourceful ways.Food insecurity in particular is common among students, Anderson has found. She’s addressing that issue by helping to stock donated, nonperishable food items for the university’s new UIS Cares, an initiative that provides a food pantry for students.
“Around this time of year, especially as the semester is ending, meal plans are depleted, so students often eat at their friends’ houses or may not eat as much for the day,” said Anderson, 25, a world history masters candidate and graduate assistant in UIS’ Diversity Center. “With the food pantry, they’re able to come in and just grab something to supplement them.”
UIS Cares opened for the first time from 3 to 6 p.m. Thursday at the Volunteer and Civic Engagement Center, Student Affairs Building 60, on the UIS campus.
UIS Cares also will be open to UIS students for the fall semester from 3 to 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 17, and Thursday, Dec. 1.
“It will be ongoing,” said Mark Dochterman, director of the Volunteer and Civic Engagement Center. “It also has its own email address (UISCares@uis.edu), and people can contact us directly and set up a time. Hunger doesn’t happen on our schedule. If somebody needs to come in between these dates or a different time …; we’ll work with them on an individual basis.”
UIS Cares will also provide information to students who use the pantry about other resources for food.
“There are statewide resources as well as local resources for people that are struggling with food assistance, and so we’re not trying to replace those things,” Dochterman said. “We’re trying to sort of be an access point, an easy access point, for some food and information.”
Jeannie Capranica, who works in UIS’ Division of Student Affairs, said that staff were discovering that a few students were homeless and some needed food.
“For years, we had various departments within Student Affairs would bring in canned goods and set them up on the tables, and within a day, all the food would be gone,” said Capranica, who added that some needy students are struggling because of financial aid issues. “So we’ve known that we’ve had this issue for a while, but it just became very apparent recently that we needed to do something about it.”
UIS Cares is co-sponsored by the Division of Student Affairs, the Volunteer and Civic Engagement Center and UIS Rotaract Club (college affiliate of Rotary Club).
Drop-off locations for donated, nonperishable food are available around the UIS campus.
On Thursday, nonperishable items in the pantry included canned vegetables, snacks, noodles, sauces, meats, fruits, ethnic food, cereal, beans, dessert, dinners and baking items. Students can choose the food they want.
Anderson, who is treasurer of the UIS Rotaract Club, said most students who live in dorms prefer individually wrapped, microwavable foods.
“That’s kind of a hot item that we’re looking for because the students in the dorms don’t have stoves to cook,” said Anderson, who is from Chicago. “As a college student in general, you have to be resourceful. So, definitely, I always try to stretch food and money, especially around the holidays.”