OSWEGO N.Y. – As Oswego County deals with food insecurity, SUNY Oswego students run a food pantry to lend a hand.
In the basement of Penfield Library, students provide non-perishable foods through Student Helping Oz Peers (SHOP).
“What we offer here at SHOP is a lot of canned goods [and] food items such as tomato soup, chicken noodle soup [and] vegetables,” SHOP coordinator Asia Dennis said.
Twenty-six percent of people in Oswego County reported that they face food insecurity, as per a January report from the state health department.
In addition to food, SHOP also provides professional attire, such as lightly-used suits, blazers and dress shirts. The apparel donations help students who need something formal to wear to an interview or a teaching fellowship.
Student volunteer Ziaire Beckham said that as a business student majoring in finance and accounting, he is grateful for the assistance SHOP provides to him.
The pantry also provides toiletries, winter coats, school supplies, laundry detergent and paper towels.
SHOP is one of many food banks across the SUNY System. SHOP began in 2016 when college faculty would donate extra food to students in need.
“It started with faculty and staff across campus, keeping bags of food in their offices,” said Elizabeth Droz, associate dean of students.
The university will host two food drives this month aimed at gathering donations for SHOP.
SHOP is open Monday through Thursday from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. and Friday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Students can also email SHOP at email@example.com.