By Kait Bedell – News Editor
Professor and Director of Center for Community-Based Learning Nickki Dawes, with the help of student volunteers, has partnered with the Newton Food Pantry to open the Lasell Dry Pantry on campus for students. The pantry is located in the back entrance of Klingbeil House where all students are welcome.
After spending almost two years at Lasell University, Professor and Director of Center for Community-Based Learning Nickki Dawes felt that the school could benefit from a pantry on campus. Dawes had been spending time volunteering at Newton Food Pantry and decided to talk to them about helping to start Lasell’s pantry.
“I have a couple of main roles I play at the university,” Dawes said. “I think I see this as part of my role or responsibility, I don’t see it as a sort of extra.”
While Dawes enjoys her time helping others through the two pantry’s she plays major roles in, she also said it helps her to network for Lasell as well.
“I view this work as essentially leveraging my space as a sort of a community-engaged practitioner-scholar to help to make this happen,” Dawes said. “I’m optimistic that as well as providing a resource for students who might find this useful, maybe we can develop curricular connections too.”
In addition to all Dawes does for the pantry, she said she relies heavily on the student workers who volunteer their time to help keep it running. One prominent student worker Dawes said is “fantastic” and a “key partner” in running the pantry is Junior Simone Landry.
Landry is the “captain” of the food pantry on campus and oversees the food that is coming and going while making sure everything is running smoothly.
“It’s fun to do something engaging and hands-on again,” Landry said. “Being in the building again is good because I’ve been working remotely so it’s good to get out there and do something productive for the Lasell community.”
Landry has spent a lot of time communicating with Dawes and figuring out ways to improve the new pantry while spreading the word about its opening.
Dawes’s connections to the Newton Food Pantry have helped the two brainstorm new ways to expand the dry pantry on campus. The town’s pantry has also helped to supply the food needed to start up Lasell’s pantry.
“We’ve been chatting with the people from the food pantry to see what else we can get and what they find successful for them in their work just to really get the word out,” Landry said.
Although Landry said the pantry has had a slow start due to the lack of students on campus this semester, she hopes more people will utilize the resource as it continues to grow.
“I’m glad that students are using it for people that need a gap filler,” Landry said. “I really hope that more people start going to it and that it grows into a bigger project.”
The goal of the pantry is to provide mutual aid in order to create an atmosphere centered around enhancing the community.
Those who wish to donate food items to the pantry are encouraged to reach out to Dawes via email.