Paley Library and Cherry Pantry collaborate to fight campus hunger

“Food for Fines” is a program that deducts library fees in exchange for food donations.

The Temple University Libraries and the Cherry Pantry are hosting a Food for Fines program, allowing students to pay off their library fines through the donation of food. | HANNAH BURNS/ THE TEMPLE NEWS

Paley Library and Cherry Pantry teamed up to fight hunger on campus with a new program called Food for Fines.

The program allows students to drop off food items at the library for the Cherry Pantry. In return for every food item, the library will take two dollars off of the student’s library fines.

The Cherry Pantry, which opened in February 2018, aims to fight food insecurity at Temple. Students can come into the pantry, located in the Student Activity Center, and pick up free food based on a points system with their Temple ID cards.

Sara Wilson, the library’s outreach and communications administrator said the library staff is excited to be part of a greater mission.

“There are so many students on campus who are food insecure,” Wilson said. “It’s hard to focus on your classes or your test when you are hungry and don’t know where your next meal is coming from.”

Wilson said the library has a theme each academic year. The theme for 2018-19 is “Access and Opportunity.”

“We were thinking about how the kind of barriers people face and how we can make both the libraries and the world a more accessible place,” Wilson said.

Because Cherry Pantry is still new, Michelle Martin, the pantry’s director, said this collaboration has brought more awareness to the organization.

Connor Green, a senior media studies and production major said he hadn’t heard of Food for Fines, but thinks it’s a good idea.

“I have a ton of cans at my house that I probably won’t even use,” he said. “If I could use that to get fines taken off at the library and help someone else, that would be awesome.”

“It’s another way to kind of get the word there about the services that the Cherry Pantry offers students,” Martin said. “Given that we’ve only been open since February  … the more people who hear about it the better.”

So far, students and staff filled one bin with donations to the pantry. The drive, which was supposed to end on September 25, has been extended to October 5.

A partnership between the pantry and Paley is one of many charitable initiatives the groups take part in.

On September 19 the library partnered with the Office of Sustainability to bring goats onto campus to help students reduce stress during Wellness Week. The library also worked with the Institute on Disabilities to make its activities more inclusive, like leaving space for people who use wheelchairs during its programs.

The pantry collaborated with Temple Thrift, a charity thrift event, where all of the proceeds from the event went to Cherry Pantry. The Department of Institutional Advancement plans to include the pantry in one of its “Owl Crowd” fundraising events.

Madeline McCloskey, a freshman undecided major, said she appreciated Temple’s effort to help students.

“I just feel that Temple cares about their students a lot,” McCloskey said. “I feel like a lot of schools don’t like take that extra step to take care of their students.”

Wilson said the collaboration is successful so far.

“We do think that we’ve been raising some awareness about the pantry and that was our real goal,” Wilson said.

Alyssa Biederman contributed reporting.

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