“Our mission is to better serve the community by educating people on poverty and how we can fight food and security on our campus and our community,” said AmeriCorps Vista Alyssa Earl who is involved with the Commodore Cupboard.
Earl discussed the pantry’s current plans, and the process of moving into a new working space to help even more people in need.
“I’ve seen a lot more new families work to keep the cupboard consistent. We’ve been coming up with new ideas, like fundraising ideas,” said Earl. Moving from its previous location, located in the hallway between the College Center and the Nord Advanced Technologies Center to its new facility in the Business Building in room 113, which was the old location for the Women’s Link.
Earl said she’s working hard this semester with the Commodore Cupboard and would like for people to volunteer more so people can utilize the pantry frequently.
Since the last location was so small, Earl said they had to limit what they had to get, and would miss items for families. Because of the new space, Earl says, food is, “not only more frequent but a lot more fresh”, as the new space has a refrigerator, which means fresh produce and dairy. Earl said there is also more hands on training, as the space has hired more workers, which means there are more tasks to do, such as incoming projects.
One of these is called the pilot project. Earl said the project will have a locker system, in which students can order online, receive a code, and put in the code to their designated locker where the ordered food is stored. The project is still in the works, as well as more projects still being planned.
A positive change
Earl describes the move to be a, “positive change.” One positive change from moving would be the inclusion of expandable hours to its workers. According to Earl, Last semester, because there were fewer workers, there was a lot less time to work on projects. Currently, the Commodore Cupboard is open Mon-Fri from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
The Commodore Cupboard is partnering with Meijer supermarket where customers who shop there can purchase $10 donation cards, which will allow them to be a recipient of the Simply Give food pantry donation program. With the $10 donation card, it will turn into a Meijer food-only gift card where customers can help support the Commodore Cupboard with their donation for developing families such as diapers and wipes.
Cupboard and ARC as one
When asked about the association with the Advocacy Resource Center, or ARC, Earl said, “We like to think of the ARC and the Commodore Cupboard as one big family.”
“The Commodore Cupboard is part of the advocacy,” said ARC Coordinator Tracey Maxwell.
Formerly the Women’s Link, it has officially changed its name to the Advocacy Resource Center, or ARC for short. The name was changed because according to Maxwell, “Thought it would make sense and be more clear to students to come to us.” With this new focus, there is this new comprehension access to what students need. Maxwell assures, despite the name change, the facility will still have Women’s Link calls.
In regards to their new office space located at the first floor of the Bass Library, which was previously the Children’s Library which is now in the second floor of the Library, Maxwell said the new space allows them to expand new partnerships and counseling. She assures there will be new opportunities to help students in the upcoming future.
Greater effiency with bigger space
Maxwell said there is greater efficiency because of the new space. Counseling will expand in the ARC so students can have a supportive service on campus.
“Students play a lot of roles. Some are employees, some are caregivers, and some are parents. These things bring challenges. Students have a lot of things to worry about,” said Maxwell. If the students do not have the proper help, they will not be successful.
The ARC moved into the new space since Aug. Maxwell said the new space has more benefits, one of these is having six whole rooms, which according to Maxwell means, “six opportunities to help those in need.” Beforehand, when located at BU 113, they only had three rooms. “More rooms equal more opportunities,” said Maxwell.
New furniture will come in the upcoming weeks. There is now a community room to have community meetings where the ARC can meet with students. As a whole, according to Maxwell, the new space, “Gives ARC more flexibility, and makes the location more visible.”
In regards to moving into the new office space, Maxwell said, “It went well. Like moving to a new home.” The ARC is still in the process of hiring new workers.
“No problem too big or too small”
“I hope we can reach more students sooner,” said Maxwell, “To help them before it gets THAT bad.” Maxwell said whether it is gas, electricity, food, living quarters, etc, that, “We want them to know there’s a life jacket to go through whatever life throws in their lives.”
“We are ready to help when students are ready to see us. There is no problem that is too big or too small,” said Maxwell.