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Huskie Food Pantry helps students in need

November 16, 2019

Thanksgiving – and Friendsgiving – is a time to give thanks and share a meal with family and friends. It’s also a time to remember those who experience food insecurity in the Huskie community.

“We want students to succeed while they are at NIU and we recognize that there is a population of students that are challenged by food insecurity,” said Kelly Olson, assistant dean of students for student affairs. “The Huskie Food Pantry is a small way we can help our students.”

The Huskie Food Pantry is a source of nutritional food, experiential learning and service for the NIU community. Open every Thursday from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., the comfortable shopping experience provides dignity and empowerment for students who need the resources.

“Our open and unlimited shopping layout provides students an experience where they can choose their food items for the week without restrictions,” said graduate assistant, Kay Nohelty, who oversees Huskie Food Pantry operations. “In turn, we hope that our students know that our staff will do all that we can to help them achieve their goals and feel secure while getting their degrees.”

Food insecurity – not knowing where the next meal is coming from – is unique for each person.

“One misconception about the pantry is that we only serve students who are in dire or extreme need,” Nohelty said. “While we are absolutely here for students in extreme circumstances, we also support students who might need some supplemental support.”

Olson shared the sentiment.

“Food insecurity looks different depending on your circumstance,” Olson said. “If you are someone experiencing a lack of food, it is important to remind yourself that we care about you and this is a resource for you.”

The resources are made possible thanks to the generous support of donors, volunteers, interns and university partners and serve nearly 300 students each month.

“I love working with the pantry and everything that comes with it,” Nohelty said. “I have met the most incredible, hardworking, and truly generous students that genuinely care for their peers and it is absolutely the most rewarding feeling to know that our efforts have tremendous impact.”

The Huskie Food Pantry is located in the Chick Evans Field House on the south side of the building, across from Graham and Gabel halls. For more information, call 815-753-1421 or email [email protected].

Want to help?

  • Volunteer to receive, stock and shelf inventory; shop for food; assist clients; organize food drives; and much more. Sign up online!
  • Host a collection drive: If your organization or place of work is interested in hosting a collection drive, call 815-753-1421 or email [email protected] for a list of preferred items and successful strategies to score donations for this worthy cause.
  • Participate in The Giving Project.  Participants knit and crochet items such as washcloths, hats, scarfs, mittens and blankets that get donated to the Huskie Food Pantry.
  • Monetary donations to the Huskie Food Pantry can be made online through the NIU Foundation. Type “Huskie Food Pantry” in the “Other” box.
  • Financial gifts also are taken in-person or by mail. Make checks payable to NIU Foundation and write “To benefit Huskie Food Pantry” in the memo line. To send by mail, use this address: NIU Foundation, c/o Huskie Food Pantry, DeKalb, IL 60115.