University’s food pantry stays busy

Food pantry photo courtesy of Tahodja Bond

Florida A&M University’s food pantry in the Student Health Services wing of the CASS Building has been a pivotal resource for FAMU students and the local community.

Operating hours cater to both students, available Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and the broader community, with doors open on Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

To combat food insecurity, an escalating concern within higher education, the pantry uses its Instagram page (@famufoodpantry) to disseminate information about its services and availability.

Tyler Ingram, a 23-year-old psychology major at FAMU, noted that he frequented the pantry 2-3 times weekly, even after classes. Ingram also observed the steep rise in local food prices, underscoring the pantry’s role as an essential resource.

“The only money I had was what my parents would send me, and I needed to find a way to cook my own food,” Ingram said.

Everlena Baulkmon, the food pantry coordinator, maintains inventory levels. Supplies originate from many sources, including grants and donations from alumni who contribute excess food before relocating.

Baulkmon said, “We started with a few items that we bought ourselves, and now we almost get donations every day of the week.”

Second Harvest of the Big Bend serves as the pantry’s biggest donor.

Baulkmon said the pantry is committed to ensuring that students and community members utilize it as often as required.

“If they need to come three times a week, we want them to come in,” Baulkmon said.

She envisioned a promising future for the pantry, with aspirations to expand its services:

“In the future, I see us in a big fancy building, performing just like Publix or any other grocery store,” Baulkmon said.

Larry Glover, an electronic engineering technology student, acknowledged that while obtaining food on campus posed little challenge, difficulties arose when late-night food options were scarce.

“I was low on food and saw a post about the pantry giving away items. The options on campus aren’t bad, but it’s hard to find something to eat when they’re closed,” Glover said.

The FAMU food pantry has evolved into a vital resource for students like Tyler and Glover, embodying FAMU’s commitment to alleviating food insecurity within the community. By granting access to essential supplies, students can devote themselves to their education without the burden of hunger. With ambitious expansion plans, FAMU’s food pantry aspires to serve as a paragon of compassionate service.