Most of us don’t think of basic needs insecurity as an issue that affects students on campus, but research informs us that more and more students are going hungry and becoming homeless during their college years. Research from The Hope Center (hope4college. com) tells us that 1 in 3 students will experience food insecurity during their time at school.
When Luther Memorial Church began dreaming about renovating a space in its basement, two ideas began to develop: a food pantry for hungry students, and some kind of outreach project that would help the congregation connect with students. These two ideas came together in a new ministry called The Keep.
The keep is the safest place in a castle – likewise, The Keep ministry seeks to provide a safe space on campus where basic needs may be cared for. Keep is also a term that is used to describe the basic necessities of life – food, clothing, and shelter. In addition to caring for students, The Keep mentors and equips student organizations that are working on projects related to basic needs insecurity.
The Keep Food Pantry is open weekly to hungry students, staff, and faculty from UW, Edgewood, and Madison College. Overseen by a team of volunteers from Luther Memorial Church, it provides non-perishables, fresh fruit, vegetables, and dairy, and frozen prepared foods and meat.
In addition to the food pantry, The Keep houses four student organizations. Each of these groups is provided with a physical space and is assigned a mentor / advocate who helps the group carry out its stated mission.
As another school year begins, we are excited to see how God blesses this ministry and allows it to nurture young adult leadership and continue to bless the lives of others. You can learn more about The Keep by going to www.thekeepmadison.org