A service born from the heart of students, the Food Pantry seeks to serve Bearkats who suffer from food insecurity through distribution days and large-scale events on campus, all made possible by generous donations.
In 2018, survey results from a national study on basic needs security showed 46 percent of students surveyed had low or very low food security, meaning without consistent access to quality, nutritious food.
The student organization overseeing the pantry is now in the College of Health Sciences (COHS) and has a new space on Sam Houston Avenue on track to open this fall. Rodney Runyan, dean of the College of Health Sciences, explains why it was an easy decision to house the Food Pantry.
“It is a natural fit for COHS to take a leadership role in health and wellness for our student body through ensuring the Food Pantry is sustainable,” Runyan said. “Food insecurity affects a significant number of college students. Both the causes and effects of food insecurity impact the health and well-being of our students, and the community in which we live.”
To better serve this population of students, the pantry holds 20 distribution days a year, where volunteers pass out hundreds of pounds of food
“For the first distribution during the fall semester, there were 196 who signed up which is our highest distribution to date,” said Kathleen Gilbert, Food Pantry staff adviser. “We are poised to be able to serve more students in a more effective way.”
One student who participated in the first distribution sees the service as vital.
“I really need it. My stipend does not last long enough to pay for all of my expenses,” said a SHSU Chemistry Graduate Assistant. “With the food pantry and other resources on campus like the Health Center, I can receive food and toiletries which helps me make it through.
Organizations and businesses that want to become involved should call 936.294.2309 for more information.