Despite Southern offering to feed those who are struggling, only seven to 10 students have visited the food pantry that is on campus to help feed those who are struggling to afford food. The students that have gone, have been the recurring ones who have shown up all semester. At no cost to students, food is available to those who go.
The pantry was started by graduate social work students, Tania Barry and Marlenny Franco-Johnson in 2013, according to Kristie Wilder, dean of the School of Social Work.
Feed My Sheep is a food pantry that is open to all students. To get food, students must show their ID card. The variety of meals includes Ramen noodles, pasta, beans, vegetables and fruits. Currently, there are two social work interns who set up the donations, Angelica Rodriguez and Jasmine Townsend.
Their mission is to “meet people’s basic needs,” Rodriguez said.
Feed My Sheep now has a partnership with Publix for donations, according to Townsend.
According to research done by Stephanie Guster and Laura Racovita through the School of Social Work, about eight percent of students on campus suffer from food insecurity. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), between 14 and 72% of students in universities and college campuses experience some sort of food insecurities. The USDA defines food insecurity as “the lack of consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy life.” Guster and Racovita’s research was done when the pantry first opened in 2013.
“I think [Feed My Sheep] is a program that is touching a big need here on campus, in our church and in our community,” said Karissa Goodman, graduate student in the School of Social Work.
Danielle Shica, senior psychology major said, “Food and snacks that are on meal plan in the cafeteria should also be on meal plan in the Village Market. I believe it should be consistent.”
Feed My Sheep is looking to help out students who may be struggling to find food on or off campus.
The food pantry is located by Fleming Plaza, next to the Improv center. It will be open during Thanksgiving break for students who are staying on campus. For operating hours, students can contact Rodriguez or Townsend.
One donor, coordinator for Married Student and Faculty Housing, Cindi Young, picks up extra food when she grocery shops and donates it to the pantry.
“If everyone does a little, it adds up and really makes a difference,” Young said. “I’m so thankful for those operating this valuable resource for our students.”
“[The food pantry] originated out of a brain child out of MSW students about eight years ago,” Wilder said. She also mentioned that the department is going to donate it’s earnings from giving day to the pantry.