Ferris State student opens food pantry to help bridge hunger gap on campus

Sep 7, 2016

College expenses are rising. There’s no doubt about that.

Trying to pay for tuition, books, a place to live and more can stretch a budget to its breaking point.

The pantry
Credit Courtesy of Olivia Johnson

Olivia Johnson, a criminal justice student at Ferris State University, knows that struggle, and she’s seen it on campus.

That’s why she started the Student Emergency Food Pantry for Ferris students this year.

“I actually jumped on this task when I heard the story of a young man who could only afford to eat a slice of pizza a day – which would be a box of Little Caesars a week – and through that, I decided to do something about it,” she said. “I wanted to do my part for our community and just let people know that I understand where their pain is coming from and I understand their need. And I just wanted to act on it.”  

To receive food from the pantry, all Ferris students need to do is fill out a simple form, Johnson said. They’ll then have immediate access to a week and half’s worth of food.

Personal items are also available at the pantry
Credit Courtesy of Olivia Johnson

That might include rice, noodles, pasta, soups, cereal and pancake mix, for example.

The pantry is now funded by a $2,500 grant from the Board of Higher Education, but Johnson said volunteers and donations are always needed.

Students can find the pantry at 628 Warren, behind the science building on campus. Pantry hours are Monday and Wednesday, 10 p.m. – 2 p.m. and Tuesday and Thursday, 5 p.m. – 8 p.m.

The pantry also holds “Free taco Tuesdays” from 11 p.m. – 1 p.m. and free dinner is served on Thursdays from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

You can listen to the full conversation above.


Olivia Johnson is a criminal justice student at Ferris State University. She's also coordinator of the Student Emergency Food Pantry for Ferris students.

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