Why does UT Southern Need a Food Bank?

Category: Features

By Sarah Catherine Richardson

The idea of attending classes and being a student, while hungry, was something unacceptable to the staff and students involved in student life at the University of Tennessee Southern. Thus, a plan was born to create a food bank.

The Student Food Bank at UTS alleviates the challenge of having convenient access to nutritional, affordable food and allows students to remain in school safely as they comfortably focus on earning their degrees.

The lack of options acquiring affordable food creating the stress of hunger has increasingly become an issue on college and university campuses across the country with some data showing that up to 59% of college students face regular and intermittent food insecurities. Research has shown that the stress and discomfort faced by college students from being hungry negatively affects their GPA, levels of energy, concentration and social interaction. It can affect students’ ability to complete their educations.

In many instances, community food resources are not able to accommodate students based on their eligibility guidelines. This leaves a student with nowhere to turn.

A cupboard is stacked with nonperishable food items

Now, UTS students have an option.

The UTS food bank allows students to visit the bank once a week free of charge to obtain a limited number of items. For easy access, the bank is located on campus in the Campus Life House. A UTS ID or other proof of being a current student at UTS must be presented. The only other minor addition is the student is asked to complete a brief membership form asking for basic information. Contact information for appointments to acquire food can be found on the UTS website at utsouthern.edu/students/student_life/.

“We know our food bank is needed on our campus because it is being utilized. Sometimes students use the bank a couple of times a month or more often as much as weekly when they are facing a crisis in their life and need extra assistance,” stated Sarah Catherine Richardson, Director of Student Life and Title IX Coordinator. “It is so reassuring knowing this is available for those in need whatever the crisis might be and knowing the food and personal items are given without making the student answer a lot of intrusive personal questions is also amazing.”

Since the inception of the bank, more than 100 students have used it. Donations of funding, food items and personal care items are always accepted by the UTS Food Bank. If you would like to donate to the UTS Food bank, contact Sarah Catherine Richardson at scrich@utsouthern.edu.

Items the food bank needs on a regular basis are noodles (especially ramen), pasta, (especially macaroni and cheese such as single serve items that do not require additional dishware such as Kraft® Easy Mac or Nissin Cup Noodles®), canned soup, stew, beans, vegetables, fruit, bars (protein, granola, etc.), breakfast items (especially single-serve cereal or Pop-Tarts®), rice, nuts, raisins, pepperoni, shelf stable milk and juice.

Tags: ,