In 2012, a University of Arizona graduate student initiated a service that has since become a vital lifeline for thousands of students annually.

The U-A Campus Pantry, a student-led service, addresses the issue of food insecurity on campus, distributing more than 280,000 pounds of food each academic year.

“Our mission is to help reduce food insecurities on our campus by offering supplemental groceries to any student, staff, and faculty who need it,” emphasized Pete McGraw, the pantry’s coordinator.

The program has garnered enthusiastic support from the university community. “I think it’s a fantastic program,” expressed one former student.

Students can purchase items using points allocated on their student identification cards, with the flexibility to do so up to two times per week “and they can use 6 points each visit, so that’s 12 points per week.”

These points can be used on a variety of food such as a quarter-point for produce, one point for bread, or two points for eggs.

Studies have shown a correlation between a good diet and academic achievement. Highlighting the importance of campus pantries on college campuses.

“It’s just really a good way to continue getting what you need so you can work and study and do everything you need to do as efficiently as possible,” McGraw emphasized.

The convenience of the program is further enhanced by the automatic allocation of points on students’ identification cards.

All students and faculty or staff need to do is arrive at the pantry, scan their card and commence their shopping.

The Campus Pantry operates three days a week, welcoming students on Tuesdays from 2-6 p.m. and on Thursdays and Fridays from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.