Needy students at Southern Utah State College can get help from a food bank administered by the school.
Tony Pellagrini, director of student activities, said that as far as he knows, SUSC is the only college or university in the state that has an ongoing food bank program.The food bank is administered by student officials and the Office of Student Activities.
A similar program was begun statewide at the start of the 1987-88 school year by the Utah Student Association as part of a campaign to alleviate hunger. SUSC distributed some food to needy students that year, but the program has been expanded this year, Pellagrini said.
"Red tape is non-existent, on purpose, in this program," Pellagrini said. "We keep no records, and we require no proof of need. We simply make available non-perishable food items to students or student families who express a need."
The food comes from three sources: donations from students or from faculty and staff members, a percentage of proceeds from campus dances, and a quarterly contribution from the local Albertson's store.
"Fifteen percent of the gross revenue or $50 - whichever is less - from admission charges to each dance goes to our food bank project," said Lillie Garrido, student services director for the Associated Students of SUSC. Garrido, as part of her appointed student body office, administers the program.
Each quarter, Albertson's contributes $250 worth of food to the project. "We also bought $200 worth of food from fall quarter contributions," Garrido said.
Garrido estimates an average of two students per week receive supplies from the food bank, but she has no idea how many total students have been helped.
"The only stipulation is that the food goes to assist an SUSC student or the spouse and children of an SUSC student," Pellagrini said. "The purpose of the program is to provide food during short-term duress, up to a week. We just wanted those who felt a need to feel free to get the assistance, no questions asked."
College faculty and staff members are encouraged to be aware of student need and to refer students, or to pick up food for students who may remain anonymous.
"We normally provide a week's worth of non-perishable food, sometimes more, sometimes less," said Garrido.
The food bank program is operated on a year-to-year basis, depending on whether or not student leaders choose to continue it, said Pellagrini. "I expect that it will continue again next year because a need exists, it is easy to administer, and we have such a good working relationship with Albertson's."