Food pantry on campus invaluable for some

FAMU’s food pantry is located in the CASS building. Photo courtesy:

On the campus of Florida A&M University, many resources are available to students, such as counseling services, academic tutoring and peer mentors.

But one of the many resources that isn’t touted too often is the food pantry on campus.

According to CNN, grocery prices have increased 13.1% over the past year. On top of classes and other financial responsibilities, some college students cannot afford to regularly shop at grocery stores.

Students with meal plans on campus also tend to go hungry as the food places on campus tend to close in the earlier hours of the evening.

The food pantry, located in the Center for Access and Student Success building, is open throughout the entire week, minus the weekends, and allows students to grab necessities they need free of charge.

The food pantry is stocked with a variety of items: pasta, cereal, bread, produce and more. It also has feminine products for young women who need them.

Director of Student Health Services, Tanya Tatum, said the pantry weekly sees a steady stream of customers.

“I say right now we’re averaging 10 to 15 people a day,” Tatum said.

That’s an average of 50 to 75 people a week that visit and use the food pantry, as the pantry is also available to the community one day a week for a few hours.

Last year, the food pantry received a donation of $5,000 dollars from Publix and currently receives food from the grocery store company to stock the pantry.

Tatum said the other partnerships that FAMU has developed help keep the pantry stocked.

“We get most of the food from food banks, Second Harvest,” Tatum said. “We also participate in the USDA program and they give us a lot of food and commodities.”

The food bank also picks up food from Publix Greenwise and Panera Bread.

Jamellah Jackson, a FAMU student, said the campus food pantry helped her when she needed it most.

“I only used the pantry once during the hurricane,” said Jackson, “but since then I feel like they’ve given me notifications on many different things they had to offer.”

Jackson also encouraged students to visit the food pantry.

“For students in need, I would say go get signed up,” Jackson said. “It’s super easy and worth it for the most part.”

For more information on the food bank and its hours of operations, visit FAMU Student Health Services.