UCF’s Knights Helping Knights Pantry was recently recognized for its outstanding service during the pandemic. Each year, Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida honors and celebrates some of its most dedicated volunteers and partners, and the pantry was awarded their “2021 In It Together” award.
The pantry relies on the support of faculty, students and staff for pantry items. In addition to tangible donations, the Knights Panty accepts monetary donations to ensure food is available when demand is high — which was certainly the case during the pandemic.
Donors to the pantry can share in the Second Harvest reward, as their generosity allowed the pantry to stay fully stocked when in-person drives stopped at the beginning of the pandemic. From March 2020 to July 2021, donors committed more than $85,000 to support the pantry. “The pantry’s partnership with Second Harvest Food Bank helps us use these funds to purchase food to stock the pantry for students in need,” says Jeannie Kiriwas, associate director, Student Union.
The pantry never closed for service during the pandemic, even when the university went remote. From March 2020 to July 2021, the pantry distributed nearly 50,000 pounds of food over more than 6,500 student visits. For students who were not in quarantine, the pantry pivoted to curbside pickup of food. “Students who faced quarantine on campus but could not afford the meal plan had pantry food delivered to them,” says Kiriwas.
The Knights Helping Knights Pantry started in 2009 and is committed to serving UCF students by providing basic needs, including food, clothing and personal hygiene items to foster continued academic success and increase retention for students in need. Over the years it has grown in size and its ability to serve students — moving from a small closet in the student union to its own suite in Ferrell Commons.
If you’d like to support the Knights Helping Knights Pantry, please visit: https://foundation.ucf.edu/knightshelpingknights