U of A food pantry struggles to make it through COVID-19 pandemic

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Despite most students being off campus, the Full Circle food pantry has seen an 87 percent rise in demand, leaving shelves empty.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Food pantries are seeing shortages across Northwest Arkansas and are now having to rely on each other to make it through the coronavirus pandemic.

In Fayetteville, the University of Arkansas’ pantry has seen a significant drop in donations, but a rise in demand.

Despite most students being off campus, the Full Circle food pantry has seen an 87 percent rise in demand, leaving shelves empty.

This pantry has long been a resource for low income U of A students, faculty and staff.

It primarily runs on donations, and with the students gone, that means no more large-scale food drives.

Jon Mahaffey, the chair of the pantry, said now his team has to purchase food from other food banks or retailers like Sam’s Club.

Mahaffey said with 1,100 mouths to feed, not having enough food is a scary reality.

“Every time I come in here we’re lower and lower on food and it’s just like the thought of being out and not being able to help is kind of what scares me right now,” he said.

Bret Schulte is the president of Local 965, a group focused on making sure those employed with the university are connected to the health and financial resources they need.

“When we are in a time of distress like we are right now, the only way we’re going to get through it is by helping each other out and looking out for the most vulnerable,” Schulte said.

If you’d like to donate to the food pantry, click here.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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