During Greek Week activities earlier this month, students from the Greek and governmental organizations collected 10,398 nonperishable food items, the largest donation in the pantry’s history.
“I think this year showed how much our students really enjoyed giving to those in need and they enjoy a good competition,” said Leslie Merritt, director of Fraternity and Sorority Life.
Thanks, in part, to their food collections, the sorority of Chi Omega and fraternities Phi Beta Sigma, Phi Delta Theta and Sigma Alpha Epsilon, collectively known as “Team Aruba,” captured more points than any other group during Greek Week April 12-16.
On Wednesday, April 14, the groups assembled a drive-thru in the parking lot behind the MT One Stop and, over a five-hour period, unloaded their food items into carts for transfer to the pantry, the office and anywhere else the food would fit temporarily.
“I’ve never had food actually have to come into my office because there wasn’t room somewhere else,” said Danielle Rochelle, coordinator of outreach and support programs for the MT One Stop and overseer of the pantry.
Now all the food is either in the pantry or in the pantry’s overflow facility. The items collected include canned items, rice, pasta, fruit snacks and juice boxes. The College Pan-Hellenic at MTSU contributed more than $400 for purchases of additional items if stockpiles run low.
Rochelle said that the pantry reached 750 visits in fall 2019, more than the per semester average of about 500. However, with the on-campus population reduced during the COVID-19 pandemic, in-person visits have dwindled, and many orders are taken online. Rochelle said she expects an upsurge in the fall 2021 semester.
In addition to nonperishable food items, Rochelle said the pantry continues to collect hygiene and cleaning products such as toilet paper, paper towels, laundry detergent, hand sanitizer and hand soap.
“As long as the university is open, the pantry is open,” said Rochelle.
To learn more about the Student Food Pantry, go to https://www.mtsu.edu/foodpantry/index.php or contact Rochelle at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To find out more about Fraternity and Sorority Life, go to https://www.mtsu.edu/fsl/ or contact Merritt at email@example.com.
— Gina K. Logue (firstname.lastname@example.org)