The student-run Pitchfork Pantry, which provides food and resources to those in need, will be expanding its on-campus presence to the Polytechnic and West campuses.
Amid COVID-19, the Pitchfork Pantry is ramping up efforts to support the ASU community by distributing food packages and providing healthy, low-cost recipes to students via social media.
The Pitchfork Pantry, which was founded in 2017, fights hunger and food insecurity in the ASU community by providing food to those in need and educational workshops.
Lindsay Pacheco, a junior medical studies major and president of the Downtown Phoenix campus Pitchfork Pantry, said the pantry — which was previously just on the Downtown Phoenix and Tempe campuses — will be expanding to the remaining two Phoenix metropolitan campuses within the "coming few weeks."
The pantry will also be working with tutoring centers on all four campuses to have food packages in each tutoring center on each campus.
In addition to offering food at campus tutoring centers, the Pitchfork Pantry holds twice-monthly pop-up events at Grace Community Church in Tempe. Students who fill out a form ahead of time can receive a free package of non-perishable food items at the pop-ups.
To increase availability of information about healthy eating and the importance of food security, Pacheco said the team has been using social media.
“We are starting to record videos of recipes because we really want to drive into that education aspect of it all,” Pacheco said.
Myra Khan, a junior studying sustainability and the event coordinator for the Tempe campus's pantry, said she hopes the group's efforts to educate and share resources will help people understand the importance of food security.
“We are really looking at food insecurity as a systemic issue and understanding how this existing issue is exacerbated by the pandemic,” Khan said.
Nargish Patwoary, a senior studying biological sciences and president of the Pitchfork Pantry at the West campus, said the pandemic has prompted the team to shift gears and implement new programs and services to support on-campus students.
“We are trying to run drives, provide PPE for students as well since a lot of them don’t have access to gloves or high quality masks,” Patwoary said.
Khan said the pantry is working with clubs on campus to educate the community about other issues related to food insecurity, such as menstrual health.
“We’re working with menstrual equity clubs so that we can get that emphasis on getting these menstrual products to students who need them and other off-campus organizations,” Khan said.
To support out-of-state students and first year students, the Pitchfork Pantry is helping connect students who don't live close to pantry locations to resources near them, such as local food banks.
“One thing that I really like about the pantry is that we are completely student-run and I feel like it makes it more approachable,” Pacheco said.
Throughout its changes during the pandemic, the Pitchfork Pantry has kept the same goal of supporting ASU students of all income levels, knowing how difficult it can be to succeed even without the added challenge of food insecurity.
“As students, we understand the struggle of having to balance work and finances and classes.” Pacheco said. "Pitchfork Pantry is just a way of showing our support."