If your fridge and pantry are looking a little empty, mark your calendars for this Friday.
On April 28, the Lobo Food Pantry will be working with the Roadrunner Food Bank to provide students and community members with groceries that they might not be able to afford.
Tina Zuniga, the program coordinator at the LoboRESPECT Advocacy Center, said that these Lobo Food Pantries happen at the end of every month, excluding May and December because of the busy nature of the end of the semester.
“Usually we have a wealth of good food, and especially if you get there early, you can get a little bit of everything,” Zuniga said. “It never hurts to get some free stuff sometimes.”
Zuniga said that the program started in 2014.
“It started through the Dean of Students office in order to serve students, because we know that college is just a really expensive time, and we want to support students in any way that we can,” Zuniga said. “Through our partnership with Roadrunner Food Bank, we’re able to meet that need of students, and it’s actually a really great way for us to build relationships in order to help them access other services that the Dean of Students office offers.”
Zuniga added that the Dean of Students offers programs like the Short Term Loan program and other various advocacy services.
“We’re actually hosting Financial Literacy Week this week through the Dean of Students office as a way to educate students on some of those different resources available to them,” Zuniga said. “The Lobo Food Pantry this month is a part of that, and I would encourage you to stop by and give it a chance.”
Zuniga said that she never encountered any problems in planning Lobo Food Pantry, since it’s a well-structured program with every person involved doing their part in making it happen.
She said that she enjoys working with the volunteers who come to help with the food pantry.
“I think the most enjoyable thing is definitely working with the volunteers and then having those same community members every month come and greet you with a smile,” Zuniga said. “They really rely on that service, and it is really awesome to make sure that we’re taking care of them each month.”
According to Zuniga, they gather volunteers by sending out a LISTSERV email requesting assistance. This semester, some groups have been coming to them to offer help, such as American Indian Student Services and UNM Be Kind.
“I think the thing about the food pantry is we see people from all walks of life,” Zuniga said. “It’s not really one type of person who is coming. It’s people who could be short on groceries for a number of reasons.”
All the food comes from Roadrunner Food Bank. Zuniga said that the bread and produce are probably the most popular items.
“It’s this cute little community education piece where we have some of our volunteers help educate people on how they can cook spaghetti, squash or zucchini that they might not normally buy, and that we have available at the food pantry,” Zuniga said.
The next Lobo Food Pantry is on Friday, April 28, at 10 a.m. at the South Parking Lot. Bring your student I.D. and be prepared to provide some information, such as the number of people who live in your household, for statistical purposes.
Staff will be there until food supplies run out or until noon. People interested in volunteering can email .
Ariel Lutnesky is a freelance reporter for the Daily Lobo. She can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @ArielLutnesky.