FAMU food pantry receives $5,000 donation

The FAMU Student Health Services management team and Vice President William Hudson are presented a check by Publix representative Ken Wilson on Tuesday. Photo Courtesy: Zakiah Miller-McFadden

Florida A&M’s Student Health Services received a  $5,000 check from Publix on Tuesday to go toward the food pantry on campus.

The food pantry, available to students and employees, has been around for about 13 years. It’s open Monday-Thursday 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The pantry consists of soups, beans, canned fruit, pasta, cereal, boxed milk, rice canned meat and other items. It also offers feminine products.

“It just came to our attention that we had a number of students that needed food and didn’t have access to things they needed,” Tanya Tatum, the director of Student Health Services, said. “We wanted to try and assist students as much as we could so over the years, we created a pretty good food pantry and a fairly large food distribution program.”

Student Health Services has partnered with several organizations such as Farm Share, the United States Department of Agriculture, Second Harvest, Panera Bread, Community Co-op and now Publix.

“Healthy foods are expensive, and students like to try different things like free range chicken and turkeys,” Harriett Jennings, an office manager at Student Health Services, said.

Jennings is passionate about the different things she can do to help students with food supplies. She was the person who applied for the Nourishing Grant from Publix Super Markets Charities.

“I didn’t think I was going to get it but it didn’t hurt to try,” Jennings said. “They called me and said you’ve been awarded the $5,000 for the grant with Publix. I’m excited because we get to get fresh fruits, vegetables, meats and dairy products for our students.”

Chris Norberg, Publix’s community relations manager, said he applauds the hard work Student Health Services’ management team is doing.

“It is our pleasure to assist Florida A&M in their efforts to help alleviate hunger in our community,” Norberg said. “We take pride in our relationship with the university’s staff and students to address the issue of food insecurity. With this donation from Publix Super Markets Charities, we are happy to provide continued support to the school’s efforts.”

Jennings said this year’s goal at Student Health Services is to get the food pantry set up and ready for operation at 674 Gamble St. Student Health Services will also be seeking volunteers to assist with the food distribution.