The Sunflower

SGA hires assistants to monitor food pantry after ‘hundreds’ of pounds of food disappear

The Shocker Support Locker implements two major changes to its operations this week. Due to the rapid disappearance of food from the pantry, the facility will now be monitored by two paid workers.

According to a statement released by the Student Government Association, the new positions are a response to reports of students who are “in violation of posted rules in the Locker.”

Student Body Vice President Shelby Rowell said at last week’s SGA meeting that a recent large donation of food by the Wichita State Police Department “was gone within a matter of like two hours.”

According to the statement, “176.4 pounds of food” donated at the recent food drive “were gone in a matter of a few hours.”

“Obviously, it’s being abused a little bit,” Rowell said. “That’s why we hired these student assistants.”Similarly, the massive Dillon’s donation made two weeks ago disappeared in three business days.

“I have gotten personal reports of people leaving with trash bags full of stuff . . . of certain individuals taking large amounts, like grocery carts of food away from the Shocker Support Locker,” Rowell said.

Holly Harpel and Daniel Chikwendu will now be overseeing the daily operations of the food pantry, located in room Wilkie Hall room 103. Each student is scheduled to work 20 hours a week.

Also new this week, Shockers who want to take food from the pantry will be asked to swipe their Shocker ID card through a scanner.

According to an email Gabriel Fonseca, SGA co-adviser, sent to The Sunflower, the “system will record the WSU ID in order to collect demographic information. SGA and the Shocker Support Locker is committed to maintaining our promise of privacy; meaning we will only be using the information to collect demographic data and nothing else. Both assistants and student volunteers will sign confidentiality agreements in order to confirm this and to hold their positions.”“One of the main reasons that we’re doing this is because we have to do it in order to continue our partnership with the Kansas Food Bank,” Fonseca said at the SGA meeting.

Fonseca said, despite the data collection system, the support locker will uphold its promise of anonymity. He said the demographic data won’t be available to anyone in SGA because it’s protected information.

“I think our first good step is that we’re going to staff it for the entire time it’s open and hopefully that will alleviate some of the concerns of making sure that our procedures and policies are being followed with the space,” Fonesca told the senate.

The food pantry will remain open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, except when campus is closed. The only eligibility requirement is current enrollment or employment at WSU. Students, faculty, and staff can use the pantry once a week and may take up to 10 items per visit.

Anyone wishing to donate food can do so at the SGA office in the Rhatigan Student Center room 219.

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