Food insecurity is a real challenge on college campuses today. Roughly 40 percent of college students are affected by it in the United States. The Rhody Outpost food pantry addresses this issue at URI.
The pantry provides food and toiletries and household items at no charge and on a confidential basis to students, along with services and resources. It is stocked with canned goods, pasta, pasta sauce, mac and cheese, peanut butter and jelly, toiletries, household items, cleaning supplies, and much more. Eggs, bread, and fresh vegetables are offered on Fridays.
Formed as a collaboration between URI and St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church, the pantry is managed by the Dean of Students’ Office and staffed by student and community volunteers. Rhody Outpost is also the beneficiary of multiple initiatives and food drives conducted throughout the year by the University and community businesses. Earlier this year, a drive by the Division of Students Affairs alone netted 2,978 items.
In an effort to address its diverse student population, the Outpost is seeking donations of hair and skin care product lines designed for ethnic and religious groups whose spiritual practices prohibit certain ingredients in shampoos and conditioners.
“The purpose of us expanding our collaboration is to advance the understanding food and housing insecurity is more than going to the pantry. As our campus becomes more diverse, we must become more aware of students’ needs,” said Jacqui Tisdale, assistant director of outreach and intervention in the Dean of Students Office. “We want the pantry to provide students with what they really need.”
The pantry is located at St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church, 15 Lower College Road, in Kingston. It’s open Mondays and Fridays from 3 to 5 p.m., except holidays, or by appointment.