Photo Courtesy of Francesca Gariano

The Cleveland State University Recreation Center now houses a student food pantry, called Lift Up Vikes, which opened on Monday, Feb. 1, for students who need assistance and resources.


March 29, 2016

'Lift Up Vikes' provides food, resources for students

Cleveland State University’s new student food pantry and resource center, Lift Up Vikes (LUV) marked its grand opening March 10.

Located in room 168 in the Recreation Center, LUV offers students non-perishable food items, fresh produce, eggs, meat and personal care items. Students are able to collect 20 points worth of non-perishable and personal care items as well as five pounds of fresh fruit, vegetables, meat and eggs.

Four years ago, a small food pantry was started in conjunction with the Mareyjoyce Green Women’s Center on campus. Three years ago, a representative from the Greater Cleveland Food Bank came once or twice a week to help students regarding food assistance. Last year, LUV was given the final go-ahead and officially opened Feb. 1.

“This [Lift Up Vikes] definitely grew out of that [Women’s Center food pantry],” said Jillian Keller, assistant director of the Resource Centers. “We wanted to have a gender neutral space.”

LUV connects students to the resources they might need.

Students are welcome to RC 168 to pick up their share of items provided by the pantry.

Split into two sections, including two refrigerators, each shelf is lined and stacked with canned fruits and vegetables, soups, boxes of cereal, jars of peanut butter, and other nonparishables.

Keller expressed the importance of the availability of food and personal care items for students nationwide.

“Hunger is a national issue amongst college students,” Keller said. Cleveland State is part of the College and University Food Bank Alliance (CUFBA), a group of campus-based food pantries meant to alleviate hunger on campuses.

There are more than 275 members of CUFBA.

The most challenging part of LUV this far has been increasing awareness for its existence across campus and its availability for students.

“This [Lift Up Vikes] is here and this is for you [students],” Keller said. LUV is open Monday through Friday, though hours may vary. Students are free to stop in between the hours listed on LUV’s website to pick out their items for the week.

LUV accepts non-perishable food items as well as cash donations to purchase the eggs, meat and fresh produce.

The latter items are brought in fresh every Wednesday.

In addition to the food pantry for students, LUV also acts as a referral agency.

LUV is able to connect students to public health insurance, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and other community organizations like Dress for Success, to help students prepare and dress for interviews.

“We finally figured out what to say. ‘If you are a student, you qualify.’ Period,” Keller said.

For updates on LUV as well as what’s new in the pantry, follow the group on twitter @CSU_LUVikes.

For pantry hours and more information about it's related services, visit


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Lift Up Vikes provides food, resources for students


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