The food pantry aims to reduce hunger and food insecurity among Red Raiders while encouraging campus engagement and education on reducing food insecurity.
In a recent survey of more than 43,000 college students at 66 colleges and universities across the U.S., 36 percent said they struggle with food insecurity, or the lack of reliable access to adequate, affordable and nutritious food.
At Texas Tech University, a group of faculty, staff and students are working to find ways to ensure Red Raiders don't go hungry. Their efforts have resulted in Raider Red's Food Pantry, which officially opens Wednesday (Aug. 29) in Doak Hall 117. The grand opening will be celebrated at the pantry from 1-3 p.m., with a ribbon-cutting by Raider Red and Cathy Duran, associate vice provost for Student Affairs.
“Raider Red's Food Pantry is a campus-wide food pantry designed to support our students experiencing food insecurities,” said Kimberly Thornton, director of the Center for Campus Life. “The food pantry offers a wide variety of non-perishable food items, and we accept food and monetary donations.”
Donation bins will be available today (Aug. 27) through Friday (Aug. 31) in the pantry and in the Student Union Building (SUB) by the information desk, across from Copy Mail and near the ATMs. Items also may be donated throughout the semester at the pantry, in room 201 of the SUB or via the pantry's Amazon Wish List.
Items needed include:
- Cereal and oatmeal
- Peanut butter and beans
- Crackers and other non-perishable snacks
- Canned tuna, salmon, chicken and other meats
- Rice, pasta (microwavable or non-microwavable) and pasta sauce
The mission of the pantry is to reduce hunger and food insecurity among Texas Tech students while encouraging campus engagement and education on how to reduce food insecurity. The pantry, a collaborative effort sponsored by the Center for Campus Life, the Office of the Dean of Students and the Graduate School, expands on the work of the Wreck Hunger Graduate & International Food Pantry, which focused on eliminating food insecurity among graduate and international students.
Ileana Hinojosa, the Center for Campus Life administrator who will oversee day-to-day pantry functions, said the new pantry, which merged with the Wreck Hunger pantry, will serve as an important resource for all students.
“Students are in school to learn and foster their future careers, but obstacles like food insecurity can get in their way,” Hinojosa said. “Students cannot concentrate when their stomach is growling, when they are worrying about when their next meal will come or how they can make it to their next paycheck. The pantry can help students become more successful by being available as a resource that allows them to get through their studies and have some peace of mind. They won't have to make the difficult decision between spending money on food or paying for things like rent, books or medical bills.”
During a visit to the pantry, students are provided with a reusable grocery bag to fill with items they need, a can opener and information sheets with additional community resources, recipes and information about healthy eating. Any currently enrolled student can stop by the pantry, complete a short intake form, then shop the pantry for needed items. No proof of income is necessary to visit the pantry.
“They just need their R-number,” Hinojosa said. “At that time, we can also help refer them to additional campus resources they request, like Red to Black Peer Financial Coaching or the Student Counseling Center.”
Students also can volunteer at the pantry to help with stocking, sorting donations and helping fellow Red Raiders who visit the pantry. Hinojosa said she hopes those who volunteer will gain as much as those who access the pantry as a resource.
“Some volunteers may even have experienced food insecurity themselves, and this is their way to help fellow classmates,” Hinojosa said. “When they graduate and continue their lives, they hopefully will continue to help others, whether it is at their alma mater or in their communities. I think students will welcome the resource and know that Texas Tech cares about their wellbeing and success.”
To make a monetary donation to the pantry, contact Thornton at 806-742-5433 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or click here.
For more information about Raider Red's Food Pantry, including hours of operation, visit the website.