loader image
- Advertisement -

Saturday, April 20, 2024
77.2 F
McAllen
- Advertisement -

New UTPA Food Pantry to assist students in need  

Translate text to Spanish or other 102 languages!

- Advertisement -

 

- Advertisement -

Texas Border Business

College students should be hungry for knowledge, but with rising tuition costs and living expenses and some with families to support, many have also become hungry for food.

Food insecurity or hunger is an escalating problem on campuses nationwide according to recent surveys, including The University of Texas-Pan American.

- Advertisement -

“Based on the demographics of students at UTPA, we expect that one in six students may be experiencing food insecurity or hunger. And students experiencing hunger are unable to perform well academically and some discontinue enrollment because they lack sufficient resources to support themselves and pay for their education,” said Dr. Mari Fuentes-Martin, UTPA Dean of Students.

To ensure students won’t go hungry, the University will open the UTPA Food Pantry this fall that will provide non-perishable food items once per week to currently enrolled students who need assistance. The pantry, under the sponsorship of the Food Bank of the Rio Grande Valley, will be located in Room 104 of the University Center and initially be open eight hours over four days each week. The UTPA Food Pantry is the second university-run food pantry in The University of Texas System, the first located at The University of Texas at Dallas.

Students, the University community and the public are invited to attend a ribbon cutting of the food pantry scheduled for 10 a.m., Aug. 28. During the event the first donation to the pantry from UTPA President Robert S. Nelsen, who will end his presidential tenure at UTPA on Sept. 1, and his wife Jody will be recognized. Jody Nelsen is the current president of the Food Bank RGV Board of Directors and joined interested students to help develop the food pantry on campus.

Fuentes-Martin said the food pantry’s mission aligns with the UTPA goal of helping students meet their overall needs – mental, social, academic and personal health and well being. She said having a campus-based food pantry also addresses students’ problems of often having limited transportation and access to community-based food resources.  Additionally, food-insecure college students may not meet community-based requirements for assistance or feel uncomfortable accessing services off campus, Fuentes said.

- Advertisement -

The UTPA Food Pantry will be based in the Dean of Students Office, under the direction of the Assistant Dean for Student Support Dr. Eugenia Curet, and have an advisory board comprising staff, faculty, students and Food Bank RGV representatives. However,  its day-to-day operations will be run by students, including social work majors who will help qualifying students to apply for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program that can provide longer-term assistance.

“The pantry will be operated by the University, but it really will be maintained by the volunteer service by other students. We will also be asking students to contribute and donate along with the UTPA community food items and other necessities for our students. So it will be for our students, by our students, and through the community overall that we will be able to help students who are experiencing hunger,” Fuentes said.

In its initial year, the UTPA Food Pantry is expected to serve an average of 100 students weekly and 1,600 unduplicated students throughout the year. Food for the pantry will be obtained from the Food Bank RGV as well as collected in regularly scheduled food drives on campus. Monetary donations will also be accepted to support the pantry.

“Our aim is to ensure that our students who are food insecure are able to meet their nutritional needs and minimize adverse impacts on their academic progress and success,” Fuentes said. “This effort reaffirms the University’s commitment to help the entire body, mind and soul of every UTPA student.”

If you would like to support the UTPA Food Pantry or want more information, contact the Dean of Students Office at (956) 665-3663(FOOD).

 

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Latest News

More Articles Like This

- Advertisement -