Tarleton Food Pantry moves downstairs in the TSC

Canned+goods+available+for+students+in+need.
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Tarleton Food Pantry moves downstairs in the TSC

Canned goods available for students in need.

Canned goods available for students in need.

Joseph Kamin JTAC News

Canned goods available for students in need.

Joseph Kamin JTAC News

Joseph Kamin JTAC News

Canned goods available for students in need.

Francisco Castro, Contributor

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On Aug. 7, 2015, the Tarleton State University Food Pantry opened its doors for the first time, with a mission to provide assistance to students who may have difficulty buying nourishing food, allowing them to stay enrolled and succeed academically.

Two years later, the Food Pantry has received a major upgrade in its capability to serve the Tarleton Family. With the recent changes in the Barry B. Thompson Student Center, the Tarleton Food Pantry has been relocated to Room 12.

Moving into a new room was a huge blessing, according to Chair of the Food Pantry Committee, Caleb Chapman.

“The initial location on the main floor was a shared space between food pantry and an office area, so it was inconvenient for the people who worked there,” Chapman said. “We were grateful to have that space, but when the opportunity came for us to be able to move down to that other area we definitely jumped at that opportunity because it provided a little more privacy, easier access and it was larger.”

In the past, the Food Pantry was only open three days a week, 2-3 hours a day.

“Now, it’s accessible through card swipe access, so students can just request to have access to the food pantry, and can access it anytime the [Student Center] is open,” Chapman said.

Students can request access online at www.tarleton.edu/foodpantry. By filling out an online form, which only asks for a UID number, students will be able to swipe into the Food Pantry, much like one would swipe into a Resident Hall.

“[The Food Pantry staff] can take [the UID number] and enter it into the system to allow their card to work. We’re not collecting names, we’re not collecting any of that confidential information in order to give students more privacy,” Chapman said.

Not only do students who use the Food Pantry get a new experience, students who wish to volunteer their time at the Food Pantry will now have the opportunity to do so.

“We’re shifting to a very student based volunteer system. In the past, it was a lot of faculty and staff, which we were very appreciative for. It was nice to have that kind of support from the Tarleton Professional Staff Community,” According to Erin Warner, Volunteer Coordinator for the Tarleton Food Pantry Committee. “However, we wanted to be a more student ran, student focused, student led initiative.”

With such a vision on mind, a student based system looks different because student schedules are different.

“Most professionals are 8-5 professionals, so they can volunteer on their lunch break or they can work with their supervisor to volunteer.”

Despite the difference, Warner intends to establish that system to allow every student an opportunity to volunteer if they wish to do so.

Students who are interested in volunteering in the Food Pantry can e-mail Warner at [email protected]

Students who volunteer are expected to commit themselves to their shift, stock shelves, clean, inform the committee of any shortages of items, ensure that any students that visit the pantry feel comfortable, respect the confidentiality and privacy of the students and thank anyone who brings donations.

With a new room, the Food Pantry needs some food to fill its empty shelves.

Records for logged visits to the Food Pantry show that from Aug. 21 to Sept. 15 of this year, a total of 79 visits have been made. Last semester, the Food Pantry reported to have a total of 160 visits throughout the entirety of the semester. In three weeks, the new location has had more than half of last semester’s visits.

“Now more than ever, we’re battling some bare shelves, but its important to note that dorm friendly food are what we’re usually short on,” Chapman reports.

When asked what motivated him and the entire Food Pantry Committee to continue to run the Tarleton Food Pantry, Chapman responded with their goal, which is, “to provide assistance for those who have difficulty buying food. Whether it’s the cost of school or the cost of rent. Whatever the case is, the last thing we want them to have to worry about is having to buy food. We’re just hoping that people honor that and understand the purpose behind it.”

With a big goal and a bigger heart, the Tarleton Food Pantry continues to provide for the Tarleton Family, and continues to plan on making improvements for the better.

“We’re hoping to expand that in the future to add not only have food, but also maybe have toiletry items, school supplies and stuff like that as well,” Chapman said.

Immediate needs for the Food Pantry:

  • Chicken cans or pouches
  • Canned pasta
  • Protein bars
  • Granola Bars
  • Single-serve fruit cups
  • Nuts
  • Dried Fruit
  • Breakfast pastries/Pop Tarts
  • Snack packs (crackers, goldfish, etc.)

More information about accessing, volunteering and donating to the Food Pantry can be found at here.