Hillel for Utah Raises over $2,500 for Feed U Pantry in Honor of Jewish Harvest


Piper Armstrong

(Graphic by Piper Armstrong | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Allison Stuart, News Writer


The Feed U pantry, located in the basement of the A. Ray Olpin Union at the University of Utah, is a free resource available to all with a U card.

Any student and faculty member can use the pantry; they just need to bring their U card or identification number and fill out the first-time guest form and then they are able to access the pantry. They are open various hours Monday through Friday.

Recently the club Hillel for Utah ran a fundraiser for the pantry, by organizing a 24-hour Rock-a-thon outside the Union to raise money and awareness for the organization. They had a representative from their organization sitting outside and rocking at all times. 

They have people out in rocking chairs rocking for the entire 24 hours, all while setting up events, advertising, doing all the marketing and just being present for activities,” said Jackie Smith, the director of the Feed U Pantry.

Food, music, movies and games took place beneath a “sukkah,” a hut with a ceiling and open walls, in honor of the Jewish holiday, Sukkot, which celebrates the gathering of the harvest.

The event ran for 24 hours straight from 6 p.m. on Sept. 20, until 6 p.m. the next day.

The student president of Hillel for Utah, Jacob Olson, was able to be involved with this inclusive tradition.

We commit to staying in the sukkah on campus for 24 hours continuously and in return we ask friends, family and community members to make donations to the fundraiser,” Olson said. “It is also a great opportunity to do some outreach on campus while outside the Union building.” 

The idea was introduced by Hillel for Utah board member Michael Palmer back in 2018.

Hillel for Utah and the Feed U pantry have been teaming up for three years thus far. According to Olson, the partnership was formed in honor of “the Jewish harvest and in recognition of how important campus services like the Feed U Pantry are.”

In 2020, Hillel for Utah raised over $1,700 dollars for the food pantry. This year, though, their newly updated goal of $1,800 was exceeded with earnings of $2,500 and beyond. 

“Our initial goal this year was $1,800 dollars because intervals of 18 are symbolically meaningful in Judaism, if you convert the Hebrew word for life into numerical values the sum is 18,” Olson said. 

According to Smith, the money raised from the Rock-a-thon is used to restock the pantry with necessary items.

“We bring in hygiene items, reusable containers, can openers, things that need replenishing,” Smith said. 

In addition to the Rock-a-thon, the food pantry regularly engages in food drives, like the current Thanksgiving food drive.

There are several bins around campus collecting donations for this fundraiser, such as canned goods, toiletries, grains and more.

Apart from the food drives, there is always the option to donate directly to the food pantry.

“If you’re wanting to donate, we are also open for donations during regular business hours at the pantry,” Smith said. 

If students are unable to donate goods to the pantry, they can donate their time by filling a volunteer position at the pantry. Volunteers work at the Feed U Pantry to keep it stocked and staffed to better serve those who utilize this resource.

“Fill out a volunteer interest form in the sustainability and food justice issue area, then click on the food pantry and that’ll send a volunteer interest form to the Feed U Pantry,” Smith said.

Applications to volunteer can be found on the Union’s website.


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