Baylor takes on student hunger with on-campus food pantry
It’s not uncommon to hear someone joke about living off of ramen noodles during their college days. For many college students, however, an inability to afford nourishing food is no joking matter. At a private university like Baylor, it’s easy to assume that everyone has enough money for basic necessities like food, but not every student knows where their next meal is coming from — even Baylor students.
Over the last couple of years, professor Nathan Alleman and doctoral candidate Cara Cliburn Allen, MS ’15, have studied the problem here at Baylor. Their research found that about 20% of Baylor students experience “food insecurity,” meaning they don’t have reliable access to nutritious food. (To be clear, this isn’t only a Baylor problem; universities around the country are fighting similar issues.)
Not content with simply delineating the problem, Allen and Alleman set about trying to help solve it. They initially helped organize several free farmer’s markets and a mobile food pantry on campus, but those involved quickly realized students would be better served by something more sustainable.
With that in mind, Baylor last month opened “The Store,” a food pantry for students located in the basement of Sid Richardson. The pantry was named in an effort to destigmatize the use of a food pantry and allow anonymity to students, who are able to mention they’re just going to “the store.” The idea is that students can easily stop in and pick up the food they need to help them get by.
The project is part of the Paul L. Foster Success Center’s “Student Success Initiatives” (which works to support Baylor students with specific needs: new students, transfers, first-generation students, military veterans, etc.). University leaders hope the food pantry will not only allow students to shop for supplemental, nutritious food, but that it will also ultimately help them fully thrive in their personal and academic achievements at Baylor.
The Store is open Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the lower-level, east wing of Sid Richardson. If you’re interested in donating to The Store, head to their website and Instagram account to see their latest needs.
Sic ’em, Bears!