SHSU Food Pantry to Celebrate Grand Opening
HUNTSVILLE, TX - An organization that started as a few bookshelves in a closet will soon be celebrating a new expansion into its own building on campus. On Tuesday, February 4, the SHSU Food Pantry invites the campus community to join in celebrating their new location.
Born out of a need to serve students who struggle with food insecurity, the SHSU Food Pantry provides quality and nutritious meals during distribution days twice a month. However, this new space, located behind the Katpost at 1108 17th street, is also open Monday-Thursday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Friday from 9 a.m. to noon.
“I can’t wait to see where we go with this new space. It is phenomenal to be able to invite students into this warm, welcoming environment,” said Kathleen Gilbert, project coordinator and SHSU Food Pantry adviser in the College of Health Sciences.
According to a survey of SHSU students in 2014, over 50 percent of respondents indicated that they had experienced food insecurity in recent months. That led student Amber Spell to spearhead the original effort in opening the SHSU Food Pantry. With an advisory board of nine faculty and staff, as well as consistent student leadership, the groundwork for an organization that tackled a significant social problem was laid. Spell, a 2019 graduate, is planning to return to campus for the grand opening years after helping start this initiative.
“I had a conversation with my mentor at the time, Dr. Bernice Strauss, and she told me about some of her students that were not eating. We began to talk about how prevalent food is among college students,” Spell said. “She showed me an article about another university that was operating a pantry for the students. At that moment, an idea was born. It was time to bring a food pantry to SHSU.”
With the new building comes a new opportunity to encourage an educational understanding of food insecurity as well. The SHSU Food Pantry is working with nutrition faculty members in the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences to provide ways for students to learn about importance of proper nutrition because the unique and ultimate goal of the food panty is to completely end the need for the pantry.
“We are going to be adding an education component working with faculty,” Gilbert said. “We want to be able to be a resource for these students and help them better their situation.”