From The Field To The Pantry

Student standing at entrance to Carolina Cupboard
Last fall, N.C. State and Carolina took their rivalry to a new level: from the football field to the food pantry.

In the friendly competition of rivalry week, the Carolina Cupboard at UNC-Chapel Hill and Feed the Pack at N.C. State held the first annual Pantry Bowl. The competitive fundraising drive aims to collect monetary donations for both resources. Last year, the Tar Heels narrowly edged out the Pack, 702 gifts to 674. Collectively, the pantries raised a whopping $92.5 thousand!

Funds went directly to both pantries and immediately started making a difference at both universities. What’s better than beating the Wolfpack? Helping out your fellow Tar Heels.

The Carolina Cupboard is an on-campus food pantry that provides students with food and supplies at no cost. Located in the bottom of Avery Residence Hall, the Carolina Cupboard provides supplies to food-insecure students, whether or not they qualify for SNAP or other food-assistance programs.

With 22% of Carolina undergraduate and graduate students facing food insecurity, the Cupboard provides aid without barriers.

“We never turn students away, no matter the circumstances,” said Kayla Brown ’23, President of the Carolina Cupboard.

Carolina Cupboard staff emphasized that the monetary donations raised through the Pantry Bowl allow the Cupboard to purchase items that they typically would not receive through non-perishable food donations, as well as larger items that allow the Cupboard to expand its mission.

With last year’s donations from the Pantry Bowl, the Carolina Cupboard was able to purchase a large refrigerator and freezer. They are now able to send students home with fresh produce and perishable food in addition to shelf-stable items. Plus, monetary donations can go toward items that some donors overlook, like cooking tools and supplies, hygiene items and hot meals.

Brown emphasized the diverse needs that the food pantry serves. “What good is canned food without a can opener? What if a student cannot use SNAP for hygiene products? We need to meet these needs as well.”

The Cupboard has concrete ideas for what to do with this year’s Pantry Bowl donations: Increase educational programming around nutrition and food insecurity. There are plans to purchase a TV to show educational content while Cupboard users collect their food and to screen documentaries.

In collaboration with the Residential Housing Association, the Cupboard plans to start the RHA Menstrual Product Initiative this fall semester. The program will consist of planned deliveries of feminine hygiene products to students both on and off campus.

Carlisle Watts ’25 worked as a shift leader in spring 2022 after seeing a flier in Davis Library. She recognized the organization from one of her syllabi that had included the Cupboard as an on-campus resource for students.

“I am so proud of all the work we do to support our fellow students,” said Watts. “I am inspired by all the thought and innovation that goes into making the Cupboard the best it can be, and the commitment from each and every member.”

The 2022 Pantry Bowl will run from November 20-27, 2022, coinciding with the Tar Heels and the Wolfpack hitting the field at Kenan Stadium on November 25. Gifts can be made at pantrybowl.com.

“While the Pantry Bowl came as a complete and welcomed surprise, we were so stoked to be a part of it and are so grateful for the opportunity,” said Tarah Burnette, office manager for Residential Education and advisor for the Carolina Cupboard.

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