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Food pantry set to open at Ivy Tech South Bend, open to community

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -

Ivy Tech isn’t your typical college in many more ways than just one, but a new project stemmed from what a couple of students were experiencing and that prompted other students and staff to jump in and help. 

“We have students all the time who are just hungry for the hour or for the day or the ones who don’t know where they’re gonna get dinner at night,” said Erica Donahue, Pod 7 Manager at Ivy Tech Community College in South Bend.

Ivy Tech partnered with United Healthcare Services to address the non-academic needs of students there. A new pantry is set to open Wednesday afternoon at Ivy Tech in South Bend and will be available to the entire community as well as students who go to school there.

“We just realized that students have a lot of needs outside the classroom that keep them from succeeding in their academic classes,” said Joann Phillips, Chair of Human Services program at Ivy Tech.

While it may look like another food pantry with water, chips and other snacks for those in need, there’s a deeper story behind it.

“We had a healthy cooking class. At the end of that class, two people they volunteered that until that class, they did not know where their next meal was coming from. So that’s the issue that we’re dealing with here,” said Jim Baxter, Director at the Covering Kids and Families Coalition at United Health Services and an Ivy Tech Professor.

Organizers of that pantry say their campus isn’t your typical campus to begin with, so they’re looking to support their students through those tough times, and to help them succeed.

“A lot of us think of the movie version and the college student as living in a dorm and going to football games. Our students are frequently parents, they’re a little bit older, they’re typically at or slightly below the poverty level, so those needs are different,” said Baxter.

“Students have so many things going on so we try to help them get in touch with people in the community that do help,” said Joann Phillips.

“Whatever they need we have the resources here, try to find ways for them to get the help they need to succeed here,” said Donahue.

There will be a ribbon cutting ceremony Wednesday at noon on campus which is when that pantry will open.

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