Posted March 22, 2023

Cherry Pantry celebrates 5th anniversary and rebranding

Cherry Pantry is now the Barnett and Irvine Cherry Pantry, in honor of a donation from alum Christopher M. Barnett and his business partner Nathan Irvine. 

A sign reading Barnett Irvine Cherry Pantry
Photography By: 
Caitlin Seger
Cherry Pantry has rebranded as the Barnett and Irvine Cherry Pantry.

Along with its fifth anniversary, Cherry Pantry is celebrating a major gift, a rebranding and a new refrigerator.  

On Feb. 17, Cherry Pantry, the food pantry located in the Howard Gittis Student Center, opened its doors for a fifth anniversary celebration open house. During the event, the Temple community celebrated five years since its opening and its rebranding as the Barnett and Irvine Cherry Pantry, in honor of a donation of $300,000 from Christopher M. Barnett, CLA ’10, and his business partner Nathan Irvine. The food pantry has also recently acquired a refrigerator, which enables the pantry to offer perishable items such as produce and dairy.  

Since its opening in 2018, Cherry Pantry has been committed to fighting food insecurity for Temple students. “There are already enough obstacles to overcome on the road to success for many Temple students—food insecurity shouldn’t be one of them,” said Barnett, who also recently donated $1 million to fund a new Autism Lab at Temple’s School of Social Work

“Chris’ continuous support of Temple is an inspiring example of how alumni can positively impact the lives of the next generation,” adds Mary E. Burke, Temple’s vice president for institutional advancement. “I want to thank the Barnett family and Nathan Irvine for their generous contribution and commitment to equity and access for all students.”

“Our vision is a Temple campus where no students success is undermined by food insecurity. One of the basic principles of the program is that access to food is a basic human right. There is a common misconception that surviving off of ramen in college is a ‘rite of passage.’ However, this could very well be an indicator of food insecurity. Everyone deserves access to nutritious meals, and we are happy to provide that for the Temple community.” said Cherry Pantry coordinator Annette Ditolvo.

Items at Cherry Pantry are available to anyone with an active OWLcard, which includes, of course, students, but also staff and faculty. Recipients can use the pantry once per week and can take home up to 16 points worth of nonperishable food and an unlimited amount of perishable food, as well as two personal hygiene items during the first full week of the month. Menstrual products are available for free at all times.

Cherry Pantry was opened in 2018 after a survey revealed that 35% of Temple’s undergraduate students were food insecure. Looking forward to its 10-year anniversary, Ditolvo hopes Cherry Pantry can expand its services. “In 10 years we hope to expand our services and get more students connected to SNAP, and help them with a lot of other basic needs besides food insecurity, like housing security and financial security,” she said.

Ditolvo encourages all students, staff and faculty to use the Cherry Pantry if they need it. “We are absolutely a no-judgment zone. If you are in need of groceries, even if it’s just one time, I absolutely encourage you to do so. We’re here to support you in any way that we can.”

The Temple community is welcome to purchase items for Cherry Pantry from its Amazon wish list. Also, Connection Corner, recently opened in the International Student Affairs office, has culturally relevant food pantry items available for international students.