Man and woman loading groceries at a food pantry

Photo by Yenitza Melgoza

November 17, 2022

SIU’s Thanks “Giving Back” Food Drive on Nov. 29 will benefit students

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. — A special event to benefit Southern Illinois University Carbondale students – the Thanks “Giving Back” Food Drive – returns in 2022 after a two-year hiatus. The collection effort is set for 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Nov. 29.

Food insecurity is not uncommon and the food drive will help stock the shelves of the Saluki Food Pantry, which has served more than 4,600 students and their families since opening its doors in August 2016. The pantry’s goal is helping students stay in school and meet their educational goals.

Donate two ways

Faculty, staff and community donations are welcome. Non-perishable food items and toiletries for the Saluki Food Pantry will be accepted in two different ways:

  • Art Gallery – simply drop off donations at the Student Center Art Gallery, located on the first floor of the Student Center near the south escalator, on the morning of Nov. 29. Call 618-453-3766 or email for assistance if needed with larger donations that morning.
  • Office pickup – The SIU Grounds Department is available to collect items and transport them to the Student Center. Email to schedule a pickup time.

Needs are particularly great, challenges encouraged

The need for items to stock the shelves is particularly great this year, organizers say. Food insecurity on college campuses often tends to go unnoticed, but nearly one-third of SIU’s student population identifies as having experienced the issue, which is common to universities across the country, said Kent Epplin, associate director of the Student Center. SIU offices, departments and units are encouraged to “challenge” one another collect the most items, he said.

The event also coincides with Giving Tuesday for the Southern Illinois Community Foundation.

Donations of any non-perishable food items, along with basic toiletries, are always welcome.  The items most highly sought and thus most needed, include:

  • Canned fruits.
  • Canned meats (chicken, turkey, tuna.)
  • Pasta and pasta sauce.
  • Monetary donations. The money does not go directly to the students but is used to purchase products as needed.

While all donations are appreciated, organizers encourage donors to consider the type of foods college-age students typically eat and know how to cook.

For more information

The Saluki Food Pantry is located on the lower level of the Student Center and is open 9 a.m. to noon Mondays and 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Thursdays.

For more information about the pantry or the Thanks “Giving Back” Food Drive, visit the website at or email