Basic Needs Hub opens new location in Loop

The+Basic+Needs+Hub+that+is+available+in+the+Loop+is+located+in+the+DePaul+Center+on+the+seventh+floor.+Students+have+access+to+the+food+pantry%2C+hygenic+products+and+a+career+closet.

Courtesy of sydney breedlove

The Basic Needs Hub that is available in the Loop is located in the DePaul Center on the seventh floor. Students have access to the food pantry, hygenic products and a career closet.

The Basic Needs Hub, a food pantry and career closet for students on DePaul’s campus, has opened a new location on the Loop campus. 

This is the second location the hub has opened. The hub now operates in the Lincoln Park Student Center in Room 107 and in the DePaul Center in the Loop in Room 9700. 

The food pantry and the career closet combined efforts last year to create a central location for students in need of professional clothing that cannot afford it or for those who may be food insecure to receive canned and non-perishable foods. Over the summer, the staff recognized students’ basic needs go beyond food and clothing. Through feedback they received from students and research they did on other schools’ support programs, they came up with the idea of The Basic Needs Hub over the summer, according to Sydney Breedlove, Basic Needs Hub student assistant and sophomore.

As of now, the hub offers students a variety of food options available from the pantry section—not just non-perishable foods. It also has a fair amount of office clothes from the career closet and toiletries, including products like tampons and maxi pads. Breedlove said the hub can also offer students towels and bedsheets upon request. 

Jen Fox, the associate director of the Department of Housing, Dining and Student Centers, said the adjustments to what the hub now provides, as well as offering a second location, is innovating how students can thrive on and off-campus. 

“In order for students to be successful in the classroom, they need to feel secure in their day-to-day lives,” Fox said in Newsline. “The Basic Needs Hub will not only supply them with the necessities but give them the support they need while achieving their personal and professional goals. Now, students can access resources on both campuses, which is exciting.”

Junior Katie Holloway said she has used the hub on a couple of occasions. She said she usually uses it when times are tough or when the weather is bad because she has physical limitations and cannot always go to the store, especially in the winter.

“The best part of the food pantry/career closet is that everything is free and there is no charge whatsoever,” she said. “I also like how they accept donations such as gently used clothing or shoes.”

Holloway mentioned the hub also offers clothing that is not just professional clothing so students who are in need of basic clothing are able to use it too. 

One of my friends came to my dorm because it was downpouring out and they didn’t want to commute in the rain,” Holloway said. “Their clothes were wet from the rain, and they needed some clothes to wear. I didn’t have any that would fit them, so I took them to the career closet and they were so grateful that they had clothes to wear. That made my heart happy because I was able to help them when they didn’t have anything.”

Breedlove said Combatting short and long-term food insecurity has always been important to her. She said she has volunteered at both the Lincoln Park and the Loop pantries as well as short-term disaster relief food drives. 

“Having the opportunity to continue bringing awareness and fight food insecurity directly on campus is so fulfilling, and really plays into the core Vincentian values of Public Service and Community Collaboration,” Breedlove said. 

Breedlove said volunteering at the hub and being able to help those in the DePaul community has brought her a personal community that she is grateful for. She said she is always happy when she gets to see those in need get what they need, especially for free.

“The best interactions are always with students using the Career Closet,” Breedlove said. “I always try to hype them up, and we sometimes make a fashion show out of it while trying on c clothes for a job interview or internship.”

While the hub has already experienced so many changes in the past year, Breedlove said the hub will continue to change for the better. 

Holloway suggested one way to continue to improve the hub is to offer a delivery service. She said an app or general call-in service would be beneficial so that if a person is bound to their dorm or home they can have basic items delivered to them instead of having to go out and get them.

Breedlove said students can expect to see more items like winter coats and school supplies soon. Students should also anticipate a bigger hub space on the Lincoln Park campus to have more shelving space and changing rooms.

To see what hours the hub is open in both locations, as well as find additional information about the hub, students can look on DePaul’s website under the Student Centers page.

Connect with Kiersten Riedford: @kriedford | [email protected].com