Campus News

Table food pantry launches annual food drive

People stocking the selves of the Blue Table food pantry.

Volunteers with Blue Table stock the food pantry's shelves.

By CHARLES ANZALONE

Published November 19, 2021

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headshot of Maria Wallace.
“The demand for food this year has surpassed all prior years, and we are looking to the UB community, once again, to support our students. ”
Maria Wallace, director of student unions and chair
Blue Table oversight group

UB’s Blue Table, the online campus food pantry offering students healthy food options, marks this Thanksgiving season by putting out a widespread and heartfelt call for donations.

“As we approach the holiday season, many of us have a great deal to be thankful for,” says Maria Wallace, director of student unions and chair of the Blue Table oversight group.

However, many UB students face food insecurity and need the support of the campus community, says Wallace.

“The demand for food this year has surpassed all prior years, and we are looking to the UB community, once again, to support our students.” 

This year’s third annual Blue Table food drive runs through Nov. 24.

“Previously, we would receive approximately 1,300 requests annually,” Wallace says. “This year, since July 1, we have had more than 1,900 orders to date.”

The top 10 items requested are beans, pasta sauce, soup, peanut butter, pasta, rice, cereal, crackers, granola bars, and macaroni and cheese, according to Blue Table officials.

Donation bins are scattered around all three UB campuses. People are also welcome to bring items to 235 Student Union.  For those who would rather leave the shopping to Blue Table, a monetary donation may be made online.

 “The impact and support for our Blue Table program over the past few years has been very encouraging,” says Brian F. Hamluk, vice president for student life. “Providing our students consistent access to nutritious food and other essential items is a positive step in ensuring a healthy and successful student community.”

Blue Table is available to UB students “who experience unanticipated hardship and as a result don’t have consistent access to healthy food,” Blue Table officials say. Consistent access to nutritious food is a necessary part of being a successful, healthy student.

Students using Blue Table complete an online order form that includes a list of diverse and healthy food options that are available each week. Once the order is received, the groceries are bagged and ready to be picked up in 230 Student Union.

“The support to date across campus has been wonderful,” Wallace says. “It truly is a community drive. Thank you to all for your support of our students. It makes a real difference.”

The service has been fully operational since spring 2019.

Blue Table was originally stocked through a monetary contribution from the Student Association, and SA and Student Life have continued to organize food drives, including drives at summer orientation sessions. The oversight group hopes to sustain the Blue Table model by encouraging student, faculty and staff groups to coordinate food drives in their campus communities.

To make hosting food drives easy, the oversight group created a community toolkit that offers tips and resources for groups that want to collect food.