The Hungry Owl set up a donation box at Keene State’s annual Thanksgiving Drive. The Hungry Owl typically relies on food donors like C&S Wholesale Grocers, the Wallace and other food organizations; however, this year they didn’t receive a large donation and decided to set up a donation box at the Thanksgiving Drive.
The Hungry Owl is Keene State’s campus food pantry and was started by its current advisor, Professor of biology Susan Whittemore.
“I hadn’t been aware until I went to a conference that this was a big issue,” Whittemore said. “I know there’s hunger in the community it makes sense that there’s hunger in the school.”
Keene State held its 33rd Thanksgiving Basket Drive in the Student Center West Dining Area on Friday, November 22.
The Thanksgiving Basket Drive is facilitated by Valerie Hodge. Hodge works in the human resource department of Keene State.“It really continues our connection to the community. The Keene Community Kitchen is really grateful for all the baskets and donations they receive. I think it’s a really great connection that’s been kept up for years,” Hodge said.
A suggested menu of food items and donations are created and sent out to the different departments at Keene State. The baskets were collected and brought to the Keene Community Kitchen on the same day of the drive.
“Departments create as many baskets as they want and all the proceeds go to the Keene Community Kitchen,” Hodge said.Hodge sent out emails to the student body to invite individuals to donate food and gift cards to the drive.
KSC seniors Mackenzie Kittery and Jenna Verge are student coordinators for The Hungry Owl. They work with Whittemore to secure and store the food and to distribute the food to different locations around campus.
“A lot of our students do go hungry; around 39 percent of our students” Kittery said. “We do support a big need on campus.”
This spring will mark the second year for The Hungry Owl. Originally, The Hungry Owl had a physical location in Randall Hall. As The Hungry Owl developed, it transformed into a new model of various food shelves and food bins.
“We stock our locations every week on a rotation with our student volunteers,” Kittery said.
The shelves and bins are located around campus and are stocked by Whittemore and student volunteers.
“We use volunteers to stock the food once a week, to take inventory and to organize the food where we store it,” Verge said.
Kittery joined The Hungry Owl because of her involvement in the pre-med club. Whittemore proposed the idea to the members of the pre-med club. Students contacted the Keene Community Kitchen to research a good model for a campus food pantry.
“I was in the student nutrition club. The pre-med club and the nutrition club teamed up for the first few months of The Hungry Owl,” Verge said.
Both Kittery and Verge are graduating seniors. Students interested in joining The Hungry Owl can reach out to either Kittery or Verge.
Kelly Regan can be contacted at