Tarleton shares food pantry startup tips with Prairie View A&M

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STEPHENVILLE (August 11, 2016) — Just barely a year old, Tarleton’s successful on-campus food pantry is fast becoming a model for other Texas universities. There’s good reason.

A collaboration of Tarleton’s Student Life and Academic Affairs divisions, the pantry served almost 160 clients during the 2015-16 academic year, helping students stay enrolled and enjoy academic success without worrying about their next meal or whether to pay for one necessity or another.

Now, other universities—like Prairie View A&M—want to know how to setup and maintain their own pantries for students facing food insecurity. Prairie View officials toured the Tarleton facility this summer, going home with a good idea of how to create their own.

“Thanks to the hard work of volunteers—faculty, staff, students and several off-campus groups—and the support of Tarleton leaders, students can receive enough food for two to three days without answering prying questions or completing daunting forms,” said Caleb Chapman, pantry co-chair and director of student publications. “A student ID number is all that’s required. It’s a program worth modeling.”

Before the pantry opened, faculty and staff kept healthy snacks in their offices to make sure students were fed, not hungry, and ready to perform their best.

 Representatives from both Tarleton State University and Prairie View A&M University gather in the Tarleton Food Pantry following a tour of the facility inside the Barry B. Thompson Student Center. Tarleton's Food Pantry has been in operation for one year, serving students to eliminate food insecurity among students on campus.

Representatives from both Tarleton State University and Prairie View A&M University gather in the Tarleton Food Pantry following a tour of the facility inside the Barry B. Thompson Student Center. Tarleton’s Food Pantry has been in operation for one year, serving students to eliminate food insecurity among students on campus.

Located in the Barry B. Thompson Student Center, the pantry relies on donations of dorm-friendly food and money. Students can “shop” for 15 items (three proteins, three sides, three fruits and/or vegetables, three breakfast items and three snacks). They also receive a list of Stephenville churches and organizations serving free, hot meals.

Depending on local and state requirements to store perishable commodities, the pantry would like—at some future date—to make milk, cheese and meat available.

“While Stephenville is blessed with several community resources, not all students have transportation to take advantage of them,” said Chapman. “Many are between paychecks, waiting for money from home or looking for a job. Others need food to supplement their university meal plan. Regardless of the reason, the food pantry ensures Tarleton students have plenty to eat.”

Summer hours for the Tarleton Food Pantry are 3 to 5 p.m. Mondays and 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursdays. Beginning Aug. 29, the pantry will be open from 1 to 4 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.

For more information on the pantry, visit http://www.tarleton.edu/foodpantry.

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