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Devil's Depot continues the mission of former Pitchfork Pantry with plans to improve

The rebrand of the student-run service was initiated after club leaders began planning new partnerships with Starship Deliveries and Doordash


ASU student volunteers distribute non-perishable food items, healthcare products and produce donated by the Matthew's Crossing Food Bank outside of First Methodist Church in Tempe on Saturday, Feb. 19, 2022.

Devil's Depot, formerly known as Pitchfork Pantry until early February, will continue operating under the new name and will provide new opportunities for the University community to experience the benefits of the service.

The core mission of the student-run club is to provide food and other essentials to the ASU community, just as it did under its original name. Alongside the rebranded name, Devil's Depot will offer other ways for patrons to take advantage of resources.

The rebranding began when Pitchfork Pantry initiated a collaboration on a project with Starship Deliveries, the company in charge of the food delivery robots across the Tempe campus. The former Pitchfork Pantry would be listed with other ASU markets and restaurants on the app for users to order from. Maureen McCoy, a senior lecturer at the College of Health Solutions and the faculty advisor for the now Devil's Depot, said the need to change the name came with eliminating stigma surrounding food pantries.

"If anyone goes to a food pantry, there is often a little bit of a stigma potentially associated with that experience, with showing up and asking for help," McCoy said. "There is a prevailing kind of undertone sometimes with just the experience, the word, the asking for help."

Given this stigma, the club came to a decision to rebrand Pitchfork Pantry to Devil's Depot in order to better represent the kind of services they provide, which goes beyond food.

McCoy said the name change gives the club the opportunity to build out of just food and expand more on other services. In the future, this may include services like upgraded toiletry options or even providing mental health resources at the physical location.

"I want it to become something like a one-stop-shop for students," McCoy said. "A place where students can go to get them through a time when they might need extra help."

Abby Noel, a freshman studying civil engineering and a member of the club, said the decision to change the name was a struggle because there was a fear people would no longer recognize the main goal and that it would become "almost industrial."

"We're hoping that in the future we can broaden our reach," Noel said. "Instead of only being a food pantry, we're trying to potentially do clothing drives, increasing our hygienic section in order to fulfill the name and increase the services to the people who need them."

The depot will be moving to a new, bigger space offered by the First United Methodist Church, which will allow the club more space to store a wider variety of items. While the move has not happened yet, the name change pushed the club to accept the offer and begin work on making the space available for students.

But even with the change underway, members of Devil's Depot said ASU is still hesitant to provide support for the club's initiatives.

Lindsay Pacheco, a senior studying medical studies and the director of the pantry located at the Downtown Phoenix campus, said while ASU marketing helped with the new logo, the club has been told that "it is not being innovative enough."

READ MORE: Talks for permanent food pantry stall between officials and students, faculty

In fall 2021, University and Pantry leaders met to discuss expanding the club and its services and the University claimed it wanted something "bigger and bolder" when it came to feeding hungry students.

Pacheco said assisting the needs of students is something that happens in the moment and is not something that can be waited on.

"A food pantry is going to help a student right now," Pacheco said. "I don't personally think it is a good enough reason not to support it."

Devil's Depot has been working on strides to combat the University's claims by "working on more innovative solutions and outreaches," Pacheco said.

Solutions to pushback include the partnership with Starship where users may order from the Depot via the Aramark app and have it delivered to them, as well as another one with Doordash. 

Doordash will deliver the food packages from Devil's Depot to students within a 3 to 10 mile radius for free.

These new delivery options provide students who are unable to make it to the Depot's Saturday distributions with opportunities to access these food packages. 

With new partnerships, Pacheco said the University is starting to provide support via marketing. She said if the Depot could have more support, it would not only help reduce the stigma behind food pantries but enhance the mission of the club and the University.

"I'm very excited to see how the name change and the new partnerships will do to make sure that the pantry and the University will be aligned and grow together," Pacheco said.

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Luke ChathamCommunity and Culture Reporter

Luke Chatham is a Community & Culture reporter and previous Business and Tech reporter. He also worked in the studio production crew for Cronkite News and is currently a freelance reporter and writer for Arcadia News.

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