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Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Staff, administrators participate in Mrak Gives Back

The Pantry celebrated a recent food drive that started this quarter in Mrak Hall on Tuesday.

The Mrak Gives Back food drive attracted donations from the staff and administrators in Mrak Hall to help students on campus who struggle to afford basic necessities, including food and toiletries.

The donations went to The Pantry, an on-campus food bank organized by students to help other students.

The mission of The Pantry is to aid financially disadvantaged students in accessing food and basic necessities, as stated on the organization’s website.
“We hope that this goes to the broader campus community and challenges the rest of the community to support us too,” said Artem Trotsyuk, student assistant to the chancellor, who initiated the recent food drive.

Trotsyuk worked in collaboration with Rich Shintaku, assistant to the vice chancellor of Student Affairs, in organizing Mrak Gives Back.

Trotsyuk said the goal was to engage students, staff and administrators in community service on campus. Most of the donations from Mrak Gives Back were from staff and administrators who work at Mrak Hall.

“This past year we’ve definitely seen an increase in drives that departments are hosting,” said Quincy Kayton, director of The Pantry.

According to Kayton, the Financial Aid Office at Dutton Hall and the Asian American Studies Department have organized food drives for The Pantry as well.
Kayton added that Mrak Gives Back was the biggest campus food drive The Pantry has hosted and the first one at Mrak Hall.

Ralph J. Hexter, provost and executive vice chancellor, also helped to establish the food drive and attract support for the program.

“The need is every week … We were talking about how important it is to let people know that this organization exists,” Hexter said.

Currently, there are approximately 200 users per week at The Pantry, Kayton said. During high peak, the organization has received up to 500 students in one week.

The food drive collected popular items, including tuna, chicken, peanut butter, soups with meat, pasta, cereal and toilet paper.
Hexter said he is inspired by the student initiative.

“The ingenuity, creativity and generosity of our students in knowing how to help students in need really move me. And it really inspires everyone — faculty, staff and administrators — to help students help other students,” he said.

The Pantry is located in the basement of Freeborn Hall, Room 21, and is open Monday through Friday from 9 to 11 a.m. and Monday through Thursday from 5 to 6 p.m. Students may take up to three items per day from The Pantry by presenting their student ID.

More information about The Pantry can be found at thepantry.ucdavis.edu.

KELLEY DRECHSLER can be reached at campus@theaggie.org.

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