Haven Cupboard celebrates anniversary, announces new community partnership

PHOTO PROVIDED An LHU student volunteer organizes food donated to The Haven Cupboard.

LOCK HAVEN– In conjunction with the celebration of its anniversary, the Lock Haven University Haven Cupboard has announced a new partnership with a local community-based organization.

The Haven Cupboard, which was established to help LHU students who struggle with food insecurity, officially opened in October 2019.

In its first year, the Haven Cupboard served nearly 450 individual Lock Haven University students.

The Haven Cupboard came to be after it was identified through the voice of LHU students that there was a concern about food insecurity among students at The Haven. From those early conversations, those same students worked alongside faculty and staff to bring the Haven Cupboard to life.

The Haven Cupboard remained open throughout this year, which was ever more important with many LHU students affected by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. A year after opening, despite changes, uncertain times and a new look, the Haven Cupboard continues to expand and serve those in need.

PHOTO PROVIDED LHU students helped to collect food for The Haven Cupboard, which celebrated its one-year anniversary in October.

“So many of our students lost their jobs when the pandemic hit. We were determined to remain open to help relieve some of the economic stress so students could focus on their academics and not be worried about where their next meal was coming from,” said Dr. Amy Downes, interim associate director of student affairs. “We were serving 65-70 students per week during that time and our numbers have remained steady this fall.”

An anonymous LHU student echoed the impact the Haven Cupboard has had on them and many others. “The Haven Cupboard has been a blessing,” the student said. “It has provided me with food, which was extremely helpful since I haven’t been able to work because of the pandemic and has allowed me to put more money towards rent and school.”

“Besides helping to feed me and save money, it reminds me that there are good people out there and that gives me hope,” stated another LHU student, who visits the Haven Cupboard regularly.

Now, with a successful first year behind it, the Haven Cupboard is excited to announce a partnership with the New Love Center.

Based in Jersey Shore, the New Love Center is a food pantry and cafe serving the local community. The food pantry serves residents from Jersey Shore, Linden, Nippenose Valley, Waterville, Cammal, Slate Run, Avis, Woolrich, McElhattan, Lock Haven and Flemington.

“We welcome this partnership between the New Love Center and Haven Cupboard as a way of addressing the issue of food insecurity among students who live off campus at Lock Haven University,” said the Rev. Dr. Kerry Aucker, pastor of St. John and St. James Lutheran in Jersey Shore.

Aucker also serves as the administrator for the New Love Center food pantry.

As part of the partnership, the New Love Center recently donated a refrigerator to the Haven Cupboard and the center plans to also donate a freezer in the near future.

When the Haven Cupboard first opened, long-term plans included the expansion and ability to serve a wider variety of foods, including fresh and frozen items. The addition of the refrigerator has allowed that to begin and the pending arrival of a freezer will further expand food offerings.

Additionally, through the relationship with the New Love Center, the Haven Cupboard is now a proud partner of the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank.

“We are so grateful for the partnership with the New Love Center and their support will help ensure that we are able to continue to provide healthy and nutritious food to students in need,” Downes said.

October was Hunger Awareness month and as part of its awareness efforts, the Haven Cupboard launched a fundraising effort to raise $3,100; $100 for each day in the month of October. Thanks to the generosity of many, the goal was easily met and exceeded – raising more than $5,000.

The money raised will help the Haven Cupboard continue to fulfill its mission of combatting food insecurity for all Lock Haven University students. More specifically, the Haven Cupboard, which already has experienced tremendous growth, can continue its expansion.

Downes said that food insecurity remains an issue and she’s beyond thankful for the continued support.

According to Downes, the money raised will be used to buy new and needed shelving. The shelving will allow food to be more neatly, safely and securely stored. The funds also will allow for the purchase of fresh items including fruits, vegetables, milk, eggs and cheese.

“I have never been prouder of something than I am to be a team leader at the Haven Cupboard,” said Jordan Humes, LHU senior pre-PA major. “My experience here has taught me that I am not alone in struggling financially throughout college. I have connected with so many other students here at LHU and have formed great friendships. I’ve learned that there are caring and amazing people like Amy out there, who are willing to go above and beyond to help others. Also, the wide variety of food items that we have available has motivated me to start cooking, which is something that I’ve been struggling with. I am so thankful to be included in this community and excited to continue to watch the Haven Cupboard grow.”

The Haven Cupboard is continuing to accept donations and one can be made by visiting, https://www.givegab.com/campaigns/the-haven-cupboard-2020.

The Haven Cupboard is located in the community room of the Beth Yehuda Synagogue, 320 W. Church St., across from LHU’s East Campus Science Center. It is open for LHU students to pick up their orders weekly on Wednesday from 6-8:30 p.m. or Thursday from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. Donations are accepted on Wednesdays from 4-8:30 p.m. and again on Thursdays from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. Questions can be directed to the Haven Cupboard email address at havencupboard@lockhaven.edu.

For more information about the New Love Center, visit https://www.thenewlovecenter.com/about/.


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