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Promise House aims to decrease stigma and offer more operation hours

Campus food pantry is working to combat stereotypes that many students think about food insecurity

As food insecurity becomes a more discussed issue on college campuses, Otterbein students engage more readily with their campus food pantry known as the Promise House. 

A general survey taken at the Courtright Memorial Library and the Campus Center, shows that most students are aware of the Promise House and have utilized it at least once before. In the survey, students also expressed their comfortability in engaging with the resources provided by the Promise House. 

According to an article by BMC Public Health, even though college campuses nationwide run food pantries, students still struggle to approach or seek assistance from food pantries because of factors such as social stigma, feeling like they don’t meet the qualifications to use the pantry. 

However, Otterbein students frequent the Promise House, for food, school supplies and toiletries. 

“It doesn’t matter your background or anything. Anyone is welcome," says Ellie Blankenship, the garden liaison for the Promise House.

Students engage with the Promise House through other avenues like classes which take them to the community garden, a resource that supports the Promise House with fresh produce.

“People don’t realize how important it is for those who experience food insecurity,” says junior art major Fatima Bashar, who has taken a class in the community garden.  She says that it is a welcoming space to all students, and if a student needs something, they are not judged for it. 

Another hindrance that normally deters students from using food pantries across college campuses is their hours of operation. Health Affairs Forefront states in an article that pantries usually are not open during holidays or breaks, normally aren’t conveniently placed and have restrictive hours of operation. 

The Promise House opens for a limited number of hours during the week and according to Phoebe Gibson, a Promise House coordinator, they try to stay open at times when students are more available to utilize it.

The Promise House hours vary week to week, depending on availability of volunteers and student needs, however students can find their weekly hours of operation on the Promise House's Instagram account, @promise_house.

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