The Boxer FoodShare is hoping to prove an excellent example of a senior project gone right, as it continues to expand and provide for the Pacific University community. A part of the Center for a Sustainable Society (CSS), the foodshare is a campus resource aimed at fighting food insecurity by providing a dignified, welcoming space for members of Pacific — especially students — to access free, nutritious food.
Any Pacific student, staff, or faculty member is welcome to the foodshare.
“The open access, no questions asked set up is something we take pretty seriously,” said Michelle Larkins, Director of CSS. “This is a space where we want students to feel completely welcome.”
Thanks to a team of volunteers, the foodshare has nearly staffed all hours from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays in its home base of Scott 216, located on the second floor. However, for those looking to shop outside of staffed hours or pick up food in private, an access code can be texted anonymously by reaching out to the posted number.
A perhaps lesser known aspect of the foodshare is its leaders’ commitment to inclusivity.
“We keep track of student demand,” says Larkins of how the foodshare’s volunteers make conscious additions to what they stock. Students have the ability to make requests so the foodshare can to take into account religious, cultural and dietary preferences and provide more of what people are looking for.
And, this resource is still actively growing. Volunteer and Pacific junior Jodelle Marx is witnessing the changes first hand.
“I’ve definitely noticed it expanding,” she remarked happily. “There’s been a lot more food going in and out.”
This is the first year the foodshare has partnered with the Oregon Food Bank and together the two organizations have been holding many Free Food Markets — including those still to come on Nov. 25 and Dec. 9 — to provide food to not just the Pacific community, but the greater Forest Grove area as well.
CSS and volunteers attempts at inclusivity even manage to break down tough language barriers, as the market’s informational materials have been translated into nearly twelve different languages. Spanish speaking volunteers also attend the market to provide on-site assistance.
With a focus on maintaining diversity, continuing community togetherness and expanding support, the Boxer FoodShare continues to provide the university and its surrounding area with both sustenance and a smile.