MURFREESBORO — As thousands of students depart MTSU for summer vacation or post-graduate careers, the work of the Student Food Pantry remains as important as ever.
From its new location on the second floor of the Student Services and Admissions Center, also known as the “MT One Stop,” founder and coordinator Becca Seul emphasizes the need for donations throughout the summer months.
“We have had students come in once a month and bring in friends of theirs that they know are hurting for a meal,” said Seul
While donations are most plentiful around the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, MTSU students need help all year round. The pantry can’t afford a drought even when the weather heats up.
The good news is that the pantry has much more room for items since its move from the McFarland Building.
“We have an office space that has been designated just for the pantry, whereas, before, we were literally in a closet in McFarland,” Seul said.
In the year and six months the pantry has been open, it has logged more than 600 visits, said Seul. She keeps track of homeless and foster care students, but they’re not the only ones who need food.
“The number of students that know about us is continually growing,” said Seul.”We have to increase the donations because they have slowed down quite a bit.”
Some students don’t show financial need on paper, but they might be between paychecks at their jobs or their meal plans have run out.
Seul tells the story of a student who spent the end-of-the-year holiday break in a dormitory with nothing to eat. With no employees on campus except the police, an officer met the student at the pantry and let him in.
“During those holiday months when we’re not here, we need to make sure that they’re taken care of,” Seul said.
Now that the pantry has an MTSU Foundation account, Seul can go to a store and stock up on items available in bulk. In the first six or seven months of monetary donations, the pantry collected about $1,000.
Currently, the pantry has about 5,000 pounds of nonperishable food items. At the moment, the items most in need include bottled water, crackers, rice, peanut butter, fruit cups, canned tuna, popcorn, oatmeal, granola bars and shelf-stable milk.