They call themselves The Movement, a group of MTSU students wanting to make a real difference in the lives of those around them.
Senior psychology major Christina Brown serves as president of this small but dedicated group of young adults who make up the college ministry at First Baptist Church on East Castle Street in Murfreesboro. Their mission is to “connect, grow and impact.”
The “impact” portion was on full display recently when some of the students dropped off more than $2,000 in canned food and other food items to the MTSU Student Food Pantry.
The donation was the result of their efforts in recent weeks to conduct a canned food drive — entitled “Can the Hunger” — and raise funds to buy food in support of the university’s efforts to assist students in need with a good meal.
“Being a student at MTSU, knowing that I’m able to help other students feels amazing,” said Brown, a Knoxville, Tennessee, native, as she and fellow Movement members unloaded three pickups Tuesday afternoon in the parking garage connected to MT One Stop, which houses the student pantry.
Joining Brown for the drop-off were fellow MTSU students Terrell Burton, a senior visual communications major from Paris, Tennessee; Faith Metcalf, a junior childhood education major from Memphis, Tennessee; and Andrew Randle, a senior exercise science major also from Memphis.
Becca Seul, pantry founder and a coordinator at MT One Stop, appreciated this latest large donation, which follows other sizable donations and drives that have brought in several thousand pounds of food in recent months.
Started two years ago, the pantry is available to any currently enrolled student who shows a valid student ID. The need remains, as the pantry was accessed over 300 times in the month of November alone and 500 times throughout the entire fall semester, Seul noted.
“We have students on campus that stay here year round,” she said. “The donations slow down around the holidays, but the need picks up. So we really appreciate such donations during this time of the year.”
Seul said even though the university will be closed for a period during the holidays, students in need can still access the pantry through an arrangement she has with the University Police Department.
Seul noted another significant contribution from a local church. St. Mark’s United Methodist Church in Murfreesboro recently donated $800 and more than 1,000 pounds of food to the pantry. And Tracy Noerper, an instructor in Nutrition and Food Science, secured a public service grant that was used to purchase additional storage space for overflow items and for donated toiletries and personal items dropped off at the pantry.
The Rev. James McCarroll, pastor of First Baptist, and DeAntwaine Moye, associate minister and co-director of young adult ministries at the church, helped The Movement’s students unload their donation and were proud of their commitment to help fellow students.
“Our college students wanted to find a way to make a difference,” said McCarroll, noting that the students also raised more than $4,000 as part of a broader Thanksgiving community service effort. “They created this campaign. … And we as a church said that we would support them.”
Since the student pantry opened two years ago, it has been visited more than 900 times and has had over 22,000 pound of food donated. Students who are between paychecks or whose campus meal plans have run out use the pantry. Students with longer-term food needs are referred to community partners such as Greenhouse Ministries.
The pantry accepts nonperishable items that aren’t expired. Among the most needed items usually are canned fruits and beans, pasta, peanut butter, crackers, fruit cups, rice, cereal, bottled water and Ramen noodles. See the full needs list at www.mtsu.edu/foodpantry.
People can drop off donations anytime the MT One Stop is open: Monday-Thursday, 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. MT One Stop is located on the east side of campus at MTSU Boulevard and Blue Raider Drive, with visitor parking available off MTSU Boulevard.
Those wishing to help monetarily can also donate online at www.mtsu.edu/foodpantry. The pantry now has an MTSU Foundation account, which allows Seul to stock up on items available in bulk at less cost.
For more information, contact Seul at 615-494-8910 or email@example.com, or visit www.mtsu.edu/foodpantry.
You can follow The Movement’s efforts on their Instagram page, @themovement_fbc.
— Jimmy Hart (firstname.lastname@example.org)