More resources may soon be available for food-insecure students and faculty at UF.
UF is expanding the Alan and Cathy Hitchcock Field & Fork Food Pantry to allow for more space to display non-perishable food and fresh produce, said Heather White, UF dean of students. The expansion, which will more than double the size of the current pantry, will also create a space for storage, processing donations and a cooking demonstration area.
“The purpose is to expand the facilities so that we can provide more resources to help combat food insecurities — to help supply more for both students and faculty,” White said.
During the expansion construction, the pantry will be operating from Rawlings Hall instead of its normal location near the Reitz Union, White said.
The expansion has been a goal for a couple years now as the current facility has been running low on space, she said. Construction on the pantry should be complete by Fall 2019.
To fund the expansion, the Capital Improvement Trust Fund will pay $635,000, along with a $150,000 gift from Alan and Cathy Hitchcock, said UF spokesperson Steve Orlando.
Deneen Wang, a 21-year-old UF microbiology and cell sciences senior, volunteers at the pantry and thinks the expansion will help those who are using it, she wrote in an email.
In addition to volunteering at the pantry, Wang has known friends who couldn’t afford their next month’s rent, and have relied on the pantry to alleviate food insecurities. Wang hopes the expansion will help UF students recognize the pantry as an available resource to them.
“When I last volunteered at the pantry, we had trouble figuring out how to fit everything that was donated into the shelves,” she said. “I hope that with the expansion, more of UF will know about the pantry and have greater access to it.”
The newly expanded UF Field & Fork Pantry should be ready by Fall 2019, said Heather White, UF dean of students. It will operate at Rawlings Hall during construction.