Texas A&M University-Texarkana officials, faculty, staff, and students gathered with community members and officials from Harvest Regional Food Bank Texarkana Wednesday, September 18th to launch the university’s new food pantry.
Named the Eagle Pantry, the concept originated from the Office of Student Life after employees learned how prevalent the issue of food insecurity is among college students nationwide as well as in Texarkana.
A survey of current and former TAMUT students revealed that 30% did not have enough food for themselves or their household at least once while being part of the Eagle Family. Another 15% of those surveyed said they had inadequate food supplies more than three times in a semester, and 37% knew another student who did not have enough food as well. Additionally, 20% of the respondents reported having utilized a local food pantry in the past.
“The numbers were eye-opening,” said Assistant Director of Student Life Michael Stephenson. “You know the statistics are out there, but surveying our own students and seeing that it affects people we know really hit home. We decided something needed to be done.”
The Eagle Pantry will work with Harvest Regional Food Bank to ensure a steady supply of non-perishable food items and personal hygiene items always fill the shelves of the pantry. The pantry will open once a month from Noon until 6:00 p.m., but availability could change according to needs. An email account has also been established for students who need help between normal distribution days.