The University of Michigan’s Maize & Blue Cupboard (MBC) is working with Ann Arbor-based Food Gatherers to create a mobile food distribution program on the University’s North Campus. The program will make MBC resources more accessible to students and other individuals living on North Campus while staying within COVID-19 safety and health guidelines. The first mobile distribution for shoppers was Wednesday, Sept. 9.
The initial idea for the North Campus Distribution pilot originated through the COVID Campus Challenge. The Covid Challenge, sponsored by the College of Engineering and Student Life, hosted 14 student groups as they developed ideas to address food insecurity related to the pandemic. The challenge encouraged student input to develop solutions that allow for a public health-informed fall semester with as much in-person instruction as possible.
Later the team connected with Adam Whiteley, Student Support Case Manager for the College of Engineering and Keith Soster, Director of Sustainability, Student & Community Engagement for MDining, and advisor to the University of Michigan Sustainable Food Program (UMSFP) and the Michigan Dining’s student Food Advisory Committee to enhance the program.
The first mobile distribution date is September 9 where delivery trucks will drop off food pallets for MBC shoppers in the northwest Parking Lot 10, located along Hubbard Road on North Campus.
Additional dates include September 23, October 17 and 23, and November 4 and 18 -- all at 2 p.m.
“The delivery truck will arrive and deliver to the designated location spot with pallets coming off of the truck at a safe and reasonable distance from the previous pallet,” said Soster. “Pallet stations will include a pallet of food and the number of tables needed to separate different food from each other. “
Volunteers will be assigned to each pallet station so that they can stock a food item on a distribution table. Vegetables will be pre-bagged and non-perishables pre-boxed for safety.
In addition to food distributions, the MBC offers additional support through educational components. These include information on student resources from the Dean of Students, the Office of the Vice President for Student Life, Counseling and Psychological Services, Legal Services, University Health Services, and the Center for the Education of Women as well as nutritional information, recipes that include food found at a food pantry, and much more.
Reservations are required to participate in the mobile distribution and can be made on the Maize & Blue Cupboard website. Volunteers and donations of resources are also needed. Visit MBC to see how you or your student can help.