Campus Community Combats Food Insecurity and Student Needs with The Kitchen Closet


Taylor Simmons

The door to the Kitchen Closet, an initiative to provide aid to food insecure students at Emory & Henry College, as well as provide more access to food outside of meal times for the entire campus.

Guest Contributor, Lucas Biggerstaff

To better fight food insecurity on campus and in the surrounding area that has been worsened due to COVID-19, members of the college community created the Kitchen Closet, an on-campus resource dedicated to providing students, faculty, and staff easier access to meals, ingredients, and toiletries.

College entities involved in the creation of this resource are the Appalachian Center for Civic Life, the College Health Center, the Food Science Program, the Kelly Library, the Powell Resource Center, the Office of the President, the Sociology Department, as well as the Offices of Spiritual Life, Student Life, and Student Success.

The meal items in the Kitchen Closet are currently supplied completely by Sodexo, as other food product donations are restricted due to COVID-19 guidelines.

Joseph Vess, the Director of Integrative Learning at the Appalachian Center, played a vital role in the development of this resource.

“We are seeing how things are going this spring with the food provided, and now with toiletries as well, and will evaluate it over the summer and see if any changes need to be made or any expansions needed,” Vess said.

The Kitchen Closet itself had been in development for over a year, but the project came to a halt as the rest of the world did in the early months of 2020.

“We started planning in late 2019,” Vess explained, “but implementation was delayed until February of this year due to COVID-19 and other factors.”

The Kitchen Closet is located within the Van Dyke Center on the side of the building that’s closest to the football field. It is available seven days a week during all hours the Van Dyke Center is open, from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

As food donations are currently prohibited, those wanting to pitch in can make a monetary donation here. Once on the site, address the “Designation” as “Other,” and type in “Kitchen Closet” for donations to be completely processed.