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The student news site of Milwaukee Area Technical College

MATC Times

The student news site of Milwaukee Area Technical College

MATC Times

The student news site of Milwaukee Area Technical College

MATC Times

Downtown Campus Food Pantry: Demand drives expansion

S215 is under renovation to create a more grocery-store feel to the Downtown Food Pantry.
Photo by Sirphazzun Johnson
S215 is under renovation to create a more grocery-store feel to the Downtown Food Pantry.

In a couple of months, there will be a new look at MATC’s Downtown Food Pantry, but for the time being you will have to deal with some inconvenience. The SRC (Student Resource Center) in S215 is currently being renovated.

The food pantry has been temporarily relocated to M324. That’s the office where Student Life was temporarily. (That office has been moved to their new location on the second floor Bridge of the S Building.)

Food Pantry Student Hours: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday | 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Friday (By appointment only) | 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Food Pantry Employee Hours: Thursday | 2 – 6 p.m.

Food Demand is Up – A Lot

More space is needed at the Downtown Food Pantry because there’s been a huge increase in the need for food, and there simply wasn’t enough space to keep up with the 350% increase in demand.

Food demand at the Downtown Campus Food Pantry is up significantly in the Spring 2024 semester. (Photo by Emma Turk)

Data shows that when the food pantry first opened its doors, the SRC was ordering 500 lbs. of food per week in November 2021, then 4,000 lbs. per week by Fall 2023, and 6,000 to 6,500 lbs. of food per week this semester (numbers for January and February 2023). While that jump might be alarming to some, Dean of Student Experience Equan Burrows thinks the increase in demand is a good thing.

“I’m excited about being at capacity because that’s telling me that we have more need; that students need to get more food and it’s up to me to figure out the best plan to get more food,” he said.

Grocery-Store Feel

Burrows says S215 is going to look like a real grocery store when the renovations are complete. There will be better shelving, more shelving so we can build capacity all the more. “I’m glad that we met our capacity and we are renovating to increase capacity,” Burrows said.

The Downtown Campus Food Pantry gets a variety of food from Feeding America. It’s delivered on pallets and ranges from cereal and veggies to bread and canned items. Groceries are dedicated to the community that the food pantry serves.

“Although MATC students are the focus of the MATC Food Pantry, we will not deny services to community members in need of food. We do provide these community members with a list of nearby food pantries that they can access as a way to encourage them to utilize other resources,” according to Student Resource Specialist, Nadia Ramirez.

“The Food Pantry is here to help alleviate some of the stress that our food insecure students face. We encourage every student that feels stressed over their food security to visit any one of our five pantries,” Ramirez said.

When the Downtown Food Pantry renovation is complete, students will be able to stroll through a two-aisle grocery store. In addition to gathering staples, like spaghetti sauce, noodles, canned mixed vegetables and oatmeal, students are also able to get a free homemade meal. That’s where MATC’s Culinary Arts students step in to assist. They’ve had a partnership with the Food Pantry that has steadily grown since it first opened its doors. (To read more about that, please see the Features section.)

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