Bay student food pantry now open

ESCANABA — The shelves are stocked, the fridge is full, and the freezer is loaded: the Bay College Student Food Pantry is now open and available for current Bay students. The pantry is holding an open house on Dec. 6 from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.

According to a 2016 study by the National Student Campaign Against Hunger and Homelessness, over 25 percent of community college students qualified as having very low food security. Food insecurity, or the lack of reliable access to sufficient quantities of affordable, nutritious food, can make classwork more difficult and potentially undermine the academic success of students. The Bay College community including two student groups, TRIO Peer Mentors and the Business and Professionals of America (BPA) student chapter recognized this concern, and aimed to do something about it.

“We wanted a place on campus that was easy for students to access. Many students at Bay don’t have reliable transportation, or, with the added constraint of schoolwork, even the time or opportunity to visit a community food pantry. We thought by creating a food pantry on campus, we could help aid in our peers’ success and eliminate a real barrier to education: hunger,” said TRIO Peer Mentor Samantha Woehlert.

With the support of Bay College, including pantry supervisors TRIO Executive Director Jill Martin and Vice President of Student Services Travis Blume, the peer mentors, TRIO students, and the BPA students have been able to make the pantry a reality, just in time for the Thanksgiving season. The Bay College Student Food Pantry is funded by private donations and already has received support from community members, the Bay Faculty Association and weekly donations from Escanaba’s Aldi’s. The pantry is an agency partner with the Feeding America West Michigan program.

The pantry is currently open from 3 to 5 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays and 1 to 3 p.m. on Fridays. TRIO peer mentors, as well as members from the Bay College BPA organization, are currently staffing the pantry; however, more volunteers are welcome to help with the operations and behind the scenes effort needed to support this timely asset for our college students. The Bay College Student Food Pantry adheres to the Feeding America Standards of Conduct, as well as the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Civil Rights.

For more information about the Bay College Student Food Pantry, TRIO Student Support Services, or to volunteer goods or services to the pantry, please contact Jill Martin at 906-217-4133 or