FAMU’s food pantry: Nourishing students, fostering community

The food pantry is open to all FAMU students Monday through Friday.
Courtesy: Ja’Caiya Y. Stephens.

On the campus of Florida A&M University lies a beacon of support and sustenance: the FAMU Food Pantry. Founded 15 years ago out of concern for students’ nourishment, this dynamic resource has grown from a small closet into a cornerstone of student well-being.  

 From alleviating the financial strain of rising grocery costs to fostering a sense of community and support, the FAMU Food Pantry stands as a testament to the university’s commitment to student success and social responsibility. 

 In addition to fresh produce and canned and baked goods, the pantry provides essential items like toiletries and utensils to support students daily.  

 In 2024, the cost of groceries continues to rise, placing additional financial strain on students already facing budgetary constraints. Expanding as a crucial resource, the FAMU Food Pantry has sustained its profound influence on numerous students, including Lamar Clark, a fourth-year pre-physical therapy major at Florida A&M University. 

 “I have been coming to the food pantry for about a year. FAMU’s food pantry has been a very easily accessible place that has helped me with a lot of stress that involves groceries, cost wise.” Clark said.  

Lamar Clark, a senior pre-physical therapy major, visits the food pantry. Courtesy: Ja’Caiya Y. Stephens.

 The significance of the FAMU Food Pantry extends far beyond providing sustenance. It fosters a sense of community and support among students, erasing the stigma often associated with seeking assistance. In a space where every student’s nourishment is prioritized, individuals can access the resources at their own leisure.  

 As Director of Student Health Services, Tanya Tatum shared the vital role that the FAMU Food Pantry plays in enhancing students’ health.  

 “Our goal is to make sure that we can assist students in having food resources available to them so that they can focus on their studies and campus life, without having to worry about where their next meal is coming from,” Tatum shared.  

 Tatum emphasized the continuous efforts to offer support for students and the community of Florida A&M University.  

 “Every year we try to do better and try to bring more resources to students. There would be times when we used to drive an hour away to Quincy, every day, to get items for the pantry. Now we are fortunate enough to have resources available to us in proximity and in stock,” Tatum said.  

 Students like Karrington Henderson also play a pivotal role in the success of the pantry, volunteering their time and energy to ensure its operations run smoothly. 

 “I started volunteering in October, and it’s been really good assisting with making sure students have what they need,” Henderson shared. 

 Henderson highlighted the importance of the pantry, sharing, “I feel like a lot of students don’t know about the food pantry or they are worried about what others will think. But the purpose of the pantry is to help all students.” 

 The FAMU Food Pantry exemplifies the university’s commitment to student well-being, inclusivity, and social responsibility. By providing access to nutritious food, fostering a supportive environment, and advocating for systemic change, it not only addresses immediate needs but also lays the groundwork for a more equitable and thriving campus community. 

 Be sure to follow the FAMU Food Pantry on Instagram @famufoodpantry for more information and updates. All students can visit the food pantry in the Center for Access and Student Success building Monday through Friday.