Food for Thought, a new, non-profit student pantry, opened its doors to students for the first time on Monday. The pantry is a joint project between several entities at SFA, including the student affairs department, SGA, Hunger Jacks and the health science department.
Current students who are experiencing food insecurities or a lack of access to nutritional resources can partake of pantry during operational hours by filling out an intake survey form. Donations will be divided into the basic food groups, and students registered with the food pantry will receive a predetermined number of items from each group based on the determination of need and availability.
Dr. Adam Peck, SGA advisor at SFA, brought the idea to SGA after interactions with students and SFA faculty regarding hunger.
“As we began to consider this project, students began to tell me stories about times when they went hungry. I am embarrassed to admit it , but I was pretty shocked,” Peck said. “The more I have looked into it, students have told me stories of times when they made some pretty desperate decisions because of a lack of food. Myself and many others felt like The SFA Way compels us to do something about it.”
SGA approved funding for the pantry after being presented with information from Dr. Miranda Terry, a health science professor at SFA. Her research group, Hunger Studies, provided the numbers of people facing hunger and information on 100 other universities that have food pantries.
“It has basically been one of my dreams since I discovered the campus did not have a food pantry and realized that one in four children and one in five adults in Nacogdoches face hunger, ”Terry said. “Looking at where the food pantries in town are located, none are really that close to campus, so it did not seem like we were really alleviating hunger among the SFA college students. I recently found out that the local food pantries cannot serve SFA students because they can purchase a meal plan, which adds to the importance of us starting a food pantry on campus, as not everyone can afford to purchase a meal plan.”
Everybody involved with the pantry is excited for various reasons.
“I love the idea. This is seriously a dream come true. With studies showing that hunger negatively affects learning outcomes, the name Food for Thought was perfect to show the correlation between the two,” Terry said.
SGA president Marquice Hobbs believes it to be a positive, lasting impact on SFA.
“I personally feel that this is a superb idea. There are students who are in need of food and even go hungry sometimes. This initiative will seek to feed these students and even unify the nutritional realm of SFA. I believe this event will continue for a long time and expand as SFA expands,” Hobbs said.
Peck likes the idea of students working together to better SFA.
“It makes me feel good to see students working hard on behalf of their fellow students,” Peck said.
The parties involved with the pantry have more planned than just feeding students.
“This is the initial and most basic phase of the food pantry. However, we definitely have plans to expand the services to meet the personal development needs of our clients. We look forward to eventually providing a variety of educational workshops,” said Joy Hammonds, administrative assistant to the deanof student affairs.
Food for Thought will be located on the third floor of the Baker Pattillo Student Center, room 3.201 and opens every Monday from 3 to 6 p.m. and host a “Fresh Food Fridays” each Friday in front of the Student Center from 2 to 4 p.m. The donations for Fridays event is donated by Sprout, SFA Community Garden.
For more information on Food for Thought, contact the Student Affairs Office at saprograms@ sfasu.edu .