Eastern Michigan University Board of Regents Chairman James Webb donates 60 cases of soup to Swoop’s Pantry

Regent Webb and Swoop's Pantry staff at Meijer
After making a donation of 60 cases of soup to Swoop's Food Pantry, EMU Regent James Webb is shown with Joelle Summers, graduate assistant at Swoop's; and Swoop's team leader John Wilkerson in the Meijer Store on Carpenter Road in Ypsilanti.
Cases of canned soup are loaded on a truck.
Sixty cases of Campell's Soup (tomato and chicken noodle) are loaded into an Eastern Michigan University truck, to be delivered to Swoop's Food Pantry. The soup, purchased from the Meijer store on Carpenter Road in Ypsilanti, is a donation from James Webb, chair of the EMU Board of Regents, and his wife and fellow alum, Cathy.

YPSILANTI – Eastern Michigan University Board of Regents Chairman James Webb and his wife, Cathy, are donating 60 cases of soup to Swoop’s Food Pantry, located on Eastern’s campus. Since opening four years ago, the pantry has been a valuable resource in providing EMU students in need with food assistance and additional resources to positively affect well-being and college success.

The cases of tomato and chicken noodle soup, amounting to nearly 2,900 cans, were purchased from the Meijer store at 3825 Carpenter Road in Ypsilanti, loaded up and delivered to the pantry Tuesday morning by Physical Plant employees Chris Grant and Nick Loechli. Also attending the donation were Joelle Summers, graduate assistant for Swoop’s Food Pantry; and team leader John Wilkerson.

“We are extremely proud of the efforts of Swoop’s Food Pantry to help Eastern Michigan University students in need, and are delighted to support its efforts,” said Regent Webb. “Eastern is a welcoming university and a school of opportunity. Helping students succeed, whatever their circumstances, is central to our mission and our daily goal.”

Dan Austed, store manager at the Carpenter Road location, spoke to his store team and others of the longstanding partnership that his Meijer store enjoys with Eastern and of his excitement at growing it even further with Tuesday’s donation. “This is a great step,” he said. “Let’s continue!”  

Swoop's Food Pantry, which opened in fall 2015, is a campus-based organization that is run by a leadership board consisting of faculty, staff, students and alumni volunteers. Its mission is to provide students in need with food assistance and additional resources to positively affect well-being and college success. Its goals are to:

  • Create a sustainable resource for students to temporarily help meet food needs of students on campus.
  • To meet emergency, non-food needs of students.
  • Distribute food discreetly in easily accessible and safe environments on-campus.
  • To provide students with resources to assist them in accessing area services.
  • To involve community partners to assure the sustainability of the pantry.

With key support from local partners such as Fresh Thyme, Kroger, Jiffy Mix, Drake’s Mix and Food Gatherers and donations from the community, Swoop’s is able to provide students with perishable food items, such as yogurt, milk and eggs; along with shelf-stable items, personal hygiene items and kitchen items such as can openers, dish soap, and more.

The pantry is located in 104 Pierce Hall. Last year, the room that houses the pantry was renamed the John and Angie Sabo Swoop's Food Pantry in a special ceremony.

John and Angie Sabo are the parents of alumna Annette Johnson '94, who is a longtime supporter of the University. Annette and her husband, David Johnson, created the John and Angie Sabo Memorial Endowment to Support Student Hunger Relief. The endowment will partially fund operations of the pantry in perpetuity. 

The Pantry opened in September 2015 behind the efforts of Haley Moraniec, a social work student from Redford, Mich.

Swoop’s Food Pantry also puts together Thanksgiving and holiday baskets for students who are unable to afford holiday meals. Find out more information about Swoop’s Food Pantry, including how you can support it by donating online or volunteering.

Regent Webb was appointed by Governor Rick Snyder in December 2012. He is appointed for a term expiring December 2020. He is a two-time graduate from Eastern, receiving a B.B.A. in management from in 1971, and an M.B.A. in finance in 1976. Cathy Webb also is an alumnus, graduating with a B.A. in political science.

Webb retired as Chairman of Aon Risk Services, Inc. of Michigan in 2017. In addition to his work experience, Webb has been very active in the EMU community, serving on a variety of boards and search committees. In 1988 he received the Alumnus Achievement Award, and received the Dr. John W. Porter Distinguished Service Award in 1992.

About Eastern Michigan University

Founded in 1849, Eastern is the second oldest public university in Michigan. It currently serves more than 18,000 students pursuing undergraduate, graduate, specialist, doctoral and certificate degrees in the arts, sciences and professions. In all, more than 300 majors, minors and concentrations are delivered through the University's Colleges of Arts and Sciences; Business; Education; Engineering and Technology; Health and Human Services; and, its graduate school. EMU is regularly recognized by national publications for its excellence, diversity, and commitment to applied education. For more information about Eastern Michigan University, visit the University's website.

August 27, 2019

Written by:
Geoff Larcom

Geoff Larcom