University Park, IL,
19:41 PM

GovState joins United Way for April Food Day

A smiling man volunteering at a food drive event sorting food

By Sarah Shoaf, Staff Writer

Photo Credit: C. Kimberly Gonzalez

Brought together to support food security, Governors State University (GovState) is joining United Way of Metro Chicago (United Way) for their April Food Day event to collect shelf-stable, non-perishable items to help build a stronger Chicago region.

United Way hosts their annual April Food Day food collection event and awards luncheon to promote food security and recognize community leaders that advance equity in the south-southwest suburbs.

Last year, with the support and commitment of sponsors, volunteers, donors, and attendees, United Way collected more than 90,000 pounds of food to distribute to 10 partner pantries in the south-southwest suburban region. 

This year, the event returns on April 25 at the Tinley Park Convention Center. 

GovState is being supported by the event thanks to the efforts of two-time College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) alum, Maya Hardy, United Way's Regional Director of Development, South-Southwest, said Stacy Amedeo, CAS Promotions and External Relations Coordinator.

Items donated for the event support agencies in the Southland, including GovState’s Food Pantry, which helps students experiencing food insecurity by providing a range of non-perishable and perishable food items.

From canned goods to dairy products and frozen items, the GovState Food Pantry offers a variety of foods and aims to provide more essential items like face tissues and detergents, going beyond food needs.

In fall 2023, the food pantry had 720 students visit throughout the semester, said Ricca Louissaint, Coordinator of Civic Engagement and Intercultural Student Affairs. By her estimate, Loussaint says this translates to about 120-160 visits a month, showing consistent demand for the pantry’s services.

Not only does April Food Day help stock GovState’s Food Pantry and other local pantries, but it also helps raise awareness about food insecurity and the resources available on campus to address that need.

“Given our commitment to supporting students’ well-being beyond academics, our involvement in this event is crucial,” said Loussaint. “It allows us to showcase the pantry’s services, promote community engagement, and emphasize the university’s dedication to addressing food insecurity among its student population.”

This year, a team of students, staff, administration, and alumni will be at the Tinley Park Convention Center to help sort and distribute donations.

Anyone interested in donating unopened, non-expired items can stop by the convention center between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on April 25, 2024. For a list of acceptable food and non-food donations, click here.