Food pantry to benefit students in need
Published: Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, October 2, 2012 01:10
A group of professors, project directors, and students here at Sam Houston State University are attempting to create a food pantry for the benefit of students with an uncertainty of where their next meal will come from.
Its goal is to provide non-perishable food items so that students can eat some measure of a balanced diet.
Dr. Bernice Strauss, Director of Academic Support Programs and one of the pantry’s project managers, performed research concerning the number of students experiencing economic troubles in surrounding counties.
"For a lot of our students, the recession, the unemployment rate, and the numbers on food uncertainty with the children in the counties that feed Sam Houston suggested that we should look at this problem more realistically," says Strauss.
The number of free or reduced student lunches in public school has risen by almost 15 percent in Walker County and nearly 21 percent in Montgomery County since the Great Recession of 2008, according to research performed at the Annie E. Casey Kids Count data center.
Strauss said that this research along with first hand accounts of students burdened by economic downturns fueled the tenacity it takes to start the food pantry program.
"We wouldn’t be the only university in the state with a food pantry," Strauss states.
The School Faculty Senate alongside Project CONNECT, Bearkat Learning Community, McNair Scholars, and SH Elite has shown full support for the food pantry.
Although the program is in its infant stages, the project managers are brainstorming on how students can become involved once it becomes an organization. "I would suggest students interested in volunteering contact [Candice Wilson, Program Coordinator for FYE]," says Strauss.
However, the program isn’t quite there yet. "We couldn’t say that, ‘this is how a student can become involved’ specifically," says Wilson. "Once we get past the next step, though, we can."
Strauss stated that the best way to volunteer at this point is for organizations to voice their support for the food pantry program and to start planning food drives.
The food pantry’s advisory board members will hold a meeting with VP of Student Services Frank Parker who will determine its legitimacy on October 26th. Individuals and organizations can contact Candice Wilson at email@example.com to show support.