The Hungry Owl is currently without a home. The Hungry Owl is an on-campus food pantry that provides a variety of food at no cost to Keene State College students, faculty and staff. The food pantry was previously located in Randall Hall. With the future of Randall Hall up in the air, the members of The Hungry Owl are left to find a base for their organization. Faculty advisor to the organization and KSC professor Dr. Susan Whittemore said that the members of the organization were notified last spring semester they would need to move out of Randall Hall.
“We were told last year Randall Hall was being decommissioned, sold or leased to St. Joseph’s School so we would need to move to a new place,” Whittemore said. “I keep asking where we’re going to move to and nobody seems to be able to answer that.”
At the moment, it is unclear whether Randall Hall will be leased to St. Joseph’s School, a Catholic school located behind the building, whether it will be demolished or whether it will stay standing for the time being.
The Hungry Owl’s main concern is not being able to take donations without having a proper place to store the food. Since the donations come in large quantities, the pantry needs an adequate sized space. According to The Hungry Owl coordinator and KSC student Mackenzie Kittery, without the Randall Hall location over the summertime, all the food that was left was placed on the shelves they have located around campus, leaving little donations left for students this semester.
“Last spring semester we moved all of our food onto the shelves so now we don’t have any food because we were going to store it over the summer, but we had nowhere to store it other than Dr. Whittemore’s office, which is small. You can’t fit palettes full of food in there,” Kittery said.
Twice per year the organization receives a large donation from C&S wholesale grocers. One donation comes in either September or October and the other in March.
“The donation we get from C&S is huge. If we don’t take it at the time they’re also giving their donation to the community kitchen in Keene, I’m worried we’re going to miss out on this major donation and we won’t be eligible again until March,” Whittemore said. “It’s palettes of food that we don’t have a storage place for that couldn’t even go through the door here (to Whittemore’s office).”
While Whittemore said it may be possible to receive a smaller donation or potentially delay the donation, Kittery said the lack of space for the pantry has still been hindering their productivity.
“We’re not fully operating right now. We (the coordinators) would’ve been on campus stocking shelves before the students got here,” Kittery said. “It would’ve been good to have them stocked before orientation came so the parents could see they were stocked. We would’ve had them ready to go, but no food, no stocking.”
The organization would also typically be recruiting for volunteers this time of year. However, with no food to be put out, there is no work for volunteers at the moment. This is a missed opportunity for students to get involved and volunteer on campus.
Different locations have been recommended to The Hungry Owl, including an additional office in the Student Center. Nothing has been set in stone as of now.
The Hungry Owl receives donations from a variety of outlets, including C&S, the Newman Center, food drives done by athletic teams and private companies and the New Hampshire Food Bank.
“It was very successful last year so we need to keep it as simple and efficient as possible,” Whittemore said.
KSC President Melinda Treadwell also stressed the importance of finding a home for the pantry.
“We’re trying to have another place on campus that can be a permanent home for The Hungry Owl and can provide quiet entry for anyone who’s coming into it,” Treadwell said. “I’m very grateful to the organizers and the students who have brought this to us and we’ll make sure we have a place.”
Anyone interested in volunteering for The Hungry Owl can contact Whittemore, Kittery or Hungry Owl coordinator Jenna Verge at their respective KSC email addresses.
Rachel Vitello can be contacted at