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Ivy Tech Creates New Food Pantry Thanks to United Way Grant

The new on-campus location offers easy access for students experiencing food insecurity.
September 2, 2021
Photo Credit: Ivy Tech professor Ron Nicholson in the new food pantry on the college's Lawrenceburg campus. .

LAWRENCEBURG, Ind. — After they’ve paid for tuition and books, many college students struggle to afford food or to meet other basic needs. But students at Ivy Tech Community College’s Lawrenceburg campus now have easy access to a new food pantry created with funding awarded by United Way of Greater Cincinnati’s Southeast Indiana office. 

Research conducted by the college revealed that nearly 60% of its students experience insecurity related to basic needs, said Ron Nicholson, an Ivy Tech professor who championed the pantry project. In addition, 38% of the student population is food insecure; and 43% of students have applied for unemployment, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits and/or emergency aid. 

“This new pantry is on-site and easily accessible to those students as one avenue for reducing that (food insecurity) burden so they can concentrate on their studies,” Nicholson wrote in a report about the pantry.

Earlier this year, UWGC’s Southeast Indiana office awarded funding to Ivy Tech and other southeast Indiana nonprofits. The funding was made possible by a $300,000 COVID-19 Economic Initiative Grant from Lilly Inc. and a partnership with Indiana United Ways, a state professional association. 

Ivy Tech used its share of the grant to create the food pantry from office space, which was painted and upgraded. Purchases were made for shelves, storage containers, cleaning equipment, a fruits and vegetable cooler, a hand cart and other supplies. 

The pantry is now connected to the school’s Service-Learning Program, which Nicholson coordinates. The pantry also will be connected to the college’s new employee volunteer time-off program. The pantry will stay stocked through a partnership with Clearinghouse, a Dearborn County agency (and United Way partner) that operates food pantries.

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