At Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), the Ram Pantry is the central food pantry offering students in need both perishable and nonperishable items. Now, Little Ram Pantries – small boxes throughout campus – are available to discretely serve students who are hungry while also studying food insecurity. Each box has a magnetic sensor that detects when its doors are opened and closed.
The Little Ram Pantries have extended into areas where graduate students gather because research has shown that these students often experience more food insecurity than undergraduates.
Student coordinator Reyna Vazquez-Miller told The Commonwealth Times that she hoped increasing the visibility of the Little Ram Pantries could help advertise the program while also reducing the stigma around help-seeking. She said issues such as not having access to convenient transportation like cars, the shortage of nearby grocery stores and a lack of options in the VCU meal plan all contributed to making food insecurity a risk.