A year after the idea was conceived, the Tech food pantry has become a consistent and secure food source that benefits dozens of students.
“There are a lot of students and employees of Tech that do fall under the poverty line,” said Kaitlin Salyer, assistant coordinator of University Services, the department that organizes the pantry. “I think that this is a good resource for them to use.”
Located in the cafeteria of Foundation Hall, the food pantry has been largely successful thanks to ample food donations from various groups. So much food has been donated that in one year that the panty has outgrown its location.
Salyer said an abundance of food is a good problem for a food pantry to have.
“I have been more than happy with the amount of donations that have come in,” said Salyer. “We’ve had them come in from different student organizations, local churches, faculty and staff, and students, in general.”
The pantry also benefits from the donation of perishable items. Fresh eggs from the Tech farm are regularly donated, and Stevens Street Care Center donates bread. Salyer said being able to provide more fresh food to those in need is one of the long-term goals of the pantry.
The pantry gives two bags of food to each student in need of assistance. Also, one bag is given for each additional family member. Not only is the pantry providing food bag to students, the pantry has opened its doors to Tech employees, including third party company employees.
“We started small with students and, now that we have seen that we have the monetary donations and the food donations coming in, it just seems like the logical idea to go ahead and open it up to them,” said Salyer.
Coordinators have many goals and ideas to ensure the long-term success of the pantry.
“In the future, we would like to see more baby items,” said Salyer. “We would like baby food and things like that. We have discussed have basic toiletry items. Fresh food is a big one. We always are coming up with new ideas. I think our biggest task at this point is just getting the word out.”
Those in need of assistance from the pantry are asked to fill out an online application, which allows for the pantry volunteers to distribute the appropriate food items to each individual.
The Tech food pantry is a way to connect those who are at risk of going hungry to those who have a passion for helping others.
“I think one of the coolest things is seeing how excited the people get when you give them all those bags of food,” said senior music business major Kolby Denham, who volunteers at the pantry. “They get so excited, and that’s pretty neat!”
Food is distributed each Thursday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Fridays from 12 p.m. to 2p.m.