Feeding the pride

The Feeding the Pride food pantry, located in GUC 225c, stocks food received from donations to give to students who are in need. UNA student Julia Henderson worked for the past two years to open the pantry on campus this fall semester.

UNA’s Feeding the Pride food pantry has officially opened to students in GUC 225c in the Student Government Association’s chambers room.  The pantry offers students a week’s supply of food at a time through online request.

The pantry is a result of UNA student Julia Henderson’s efforts over the last two years.

“I was out to eat with some of my fellow (resident advisers) last year, and we talked about how some people were stealing food from their roommates,” she said. “So, I said it wouldn’t be a problem if we had a food pantry on campus.”

After Henderson met with student engagement officials all last spring and summer and researched other universities’ food pantries, UNA’s Feeding the Pride pantry opened at the beginning of this semester.

“So far, it’s really done better than I thought it would,” she said. “We have 20 registered users so far. They have to fill out a first-time user form, which is a lot like the information you have to put on a standardized test.”

Henderson, recipient of the Contribution to Campus Life Scholarship, said she’s happy to help out even one person with the pantry.

“We’re averaging about one person per time we’re open,” she said. “But, the way I look at it, even if we only help one person, that was still someone who needed it.”

Opening and operating the pantry has been a learning experience, Henderson said.

“There’s no real way to assess the need on campus other than through mine and my friends’ experiences,” she said. “So, I kind of went into this blindly.”

The pantry’s services are for students who struggle to afford food, Henderson said. Food for the pantry is provided by Collier Library’s donations for its canned food amnesty program and outside donations.

“We already have some people who are regular users,” she said. “We even have some families.”

Henderson said she wants the pantry to feed students of all kinds.

“I want to acknowledge that many students are single parents or non-traditionals,” she said. “It’s not just 20-somethings that are out there. We even have some baby food.”

The pantry is run on a completely volunteer basis, Henderson said.

“We’ve had so many volunteers,” she said. “And they just keep coming. Right now, we’ve got two student managers who have volunteered since the beginning. They have really shown initiative and dedication.”

Henderson said seeing so many volunteers and donors offer their help to the pantry has given her pride in UNA.

“It has really reinforced my belief in UNA and the surrounding community,” she said. “The UNA community really is like a family. Family relies on family, and family helps family out.”

Hours of operation for the facility are Mondays from 4 to 6 p.m., Tuesdays and Thursdays from noon to 2 p.m. and Fridays from 8 to 10 a.m.