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Saturday, September 30, 2023

Santa Fe food pantry Saints Food Share to be renovated in January

Founded in 2010 by two professors, the pantry aims to combat food insecurity

Cristie Anderson, 38, a nursing student at Santa Fe College, passes by the Alan J. Robertson Administration building on Friday, June 18, 2021.
Cristie Anderson, 38, a nursing student at Santa Fe College, passes by the Alan J. Robertson Administration building on Friday, June 18, 2021.

Santa Fe College’s food pantry, Saints Food Share, provides free baked goods for all students and employees every Monday morning. To create a more welcoming environment, the pantry will undergo renovations next month.

The food pantry was founded in 2010 by two SF professors: Sarah Stone and Kerry Chancey. The pantry aims to combat food insecurity in the community. 

Chancey said she regularly sees the effects of food insecurity in her classroom.

“If you’re hungry, it’s hard to learn. If you come to school in the daytime, and you haven’t had breakfast and … it’s 11 o’clock and you have no food in your belly, really, learning is not going to happen,” Chancey said.

Recently rebranded as Saints Food Share, the pantry will be renovated in late January. It will now be located in another building of the college, where upgrades will include new floors and cosmetic upgrades to create a more coffeehouse-like ambiance.

Chancey is a sciences for health professor who has been working at the college since 1991. Along with her colleague Sarah Stone, Chancey noticed food insecurity in their classes in 2008 and 2009 and soon  began to bring in food for students who needed it.

“We’d bring bags to individual students, which kind of spurred us to thinking that we needed to address the issue because what we were doing wasn’t really fixing it,” Chancey said.

They started the first pantry, which Chancey describes as a literal closet in the W building. They had a partnership with Gainesville Harvest until the pantry became self-sustaining.

Chancey is still involved with running the pantry, and has watched the community of volunteers and students grow throughout the decades she’s been there.

The baked goods are donated by Publix, said Sarah Blanc, SF civic engagement and service specialist. She said the food serves as more than just a Monday morning treat.

“The baked goods are great because we’re making people happy, we’re eliminating waste, but it’s kind of an outreach tool for the pantry so that people can also find out that we have other resources, too,” Blanc said.

SF director of student life Tracey Reeves will handle most of the renovations. She said the refurbishment is supported by a grant from Mackenzie Scott to the Santa Fe College Foundation.

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“We want all of our students to be able to eat and focus on their academics and other involvement and other things while they’re here at Santa Fe,” Reeves said. “We don’t want hunger to be an issue for our students.”

Chancey said she hopes the program will encourage students to take action and form connections with the Santa Fe community.

Chancey believes education is holistic and learning only occurs when students’ other needs are met.   

“Learning happens better when you’re engaged with your campus, when you feel like people care about you, when your belly is full, when you feel like you’re a part of a community,” Chancey said.

Contact Eve Thompson at Follow her on Twitter @evealanaa.

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Eve Thompson

Eve Thompson is a third-year journalism major covering Santa Fe. In the past, Eve was a News Assistant on the university desk. When she’s not submitting public records requests or staring at a blank Google doc, Eve can be found on a boat, usually listening to 70s music.

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