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MTSU Student Food Pantry sees boom in donations, r...

MTSU Student Food Pantry sees boom in donations, requests in fall semester

Danielle Rochelle, coordinator of outreach and support programs, checks the inventory in the MTSU Student Food Pantry in the MT One Stop. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

One positive aspect of MTSU’s fall 2021 return to the on-campus experience is that the Student Food Pantry is much better stocked now.

“In explaining how well-stocked we are, it is much easier to see in person, of course, because both the food pantry and overflow office are packed full,” said Danielle Rochelle, coordinator of outreach and support programs for the MT One Stop.

Danielle Rochelle, outreach and student support coordinator at MT One Stop

Danielle Rochelle

“We currently have close to 3,000 canned vegetables, with several hundred Rice Krispies treats, fruit snacks and oatmeal,” she said. “I have had to get creative with storage … to make sure everything fits in neatly.”

However, now that students are back on campus following a period of COVID-19 precautions, requests for food also are up.

“Now that students are back on campus, we are seeing an increase in food pantry requests, and we are able to get more food out to students,” Rochelle said.

In addition to foodstuffs, the MTSU Student Food Pantry carries a variety of hygiene items, including bathroom tissue, cleaning substances and feminine products. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

In addition to food, the MTSU Student Food Pantry carries a variety of hygiene items for students, including bathroom tissue, menstrual products, detergent and household cleaners. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

Rochelle, who supervises the pantry, says she  received 74 requests for food through Sept. 22 compared to 63 requests by the same time last year.

“I believe the need has remained the same, but it feels as if students are more actively seeking out the pantry as a resource,” Rochelle said.

“We have had more first-time ‘visitors’ this year versus our return ‘visits.’ The repeat visits, which we count as three or more trips to the pantry, make up only 29 percent of the requests.”MTSU Student Food Pantry logo web

Especially as winter and the Thanksgiving, Christmas and Hanukkah seasons approach, she said the emphasis on keeping the pantry shelves filled never wanes.

“(We need) continued awareness about the food pantry so students know it is available for them whenever the need arises,” Rochelle said.

Rochelle said the pantry takes requests for food as long as the university is open and the pantry itself is open. In addition to food, the pantry provides other items college students might need on a regular basis.

“We also keep nonfood items, such as paper towels, toilet paper and laundry detergent, stocked, in addition to personal hygiene items and meal vouchers,” Rochelle said.

Even with the overflow of donated items in the MTSU Student Food Pantry, there remains a bit of room for more foodstuffs. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

Even with the current overflow of donated items in the MTSU Student Food Pantry, there’s still a little room for more food to accommodate increased demand. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

The pantry, located on the second floor of the Student Services and Admissions Center in the MT One Stop offices in Room 210, was started in fall 2012 and joined the College and University Food Bank Alliance in March 2017. It is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday except on university holidays.

For more information, go to www.mtsu.edu/foodpantry or contact Rochelle at danielle.rochelle@mtsu.edu.

— Gina K. Logue (gina.logue@mtsu.edu)

The shelves are well-stocked at the MTSU Student Food Pantry in the MT One Stop on the MTSU campus. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

The shelves are well-stocked at the MTSU Student Food Pantry in the MT One Stop on the MTSU campus. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

Danielle Rochelle, coordinator of outreach and support programs, checks the inventory in the MTSU Student Food Pantry in the MT One Stop. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

Danielle Rochelle, coordinator of outreach and support programs, checks the inventory in the MTSU Student Food Pantry in the MT One Stop. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)


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