Demand for campus food pantry increasing at Mississippi College

Published: Oct. 3, 2022 at 4:38 PM CDT
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CLINTON, Miss. (WLBT) - It is no secret food insecurity is a problem across the state, but we don’t usually think of college campuses when that topic comes up.

Mississippi College is serving the needs of its college community with a food pantry, and the demand is growing.

The goal is to alleviate hunger and food insecurity by providing food and hygiene products free of charge to students and employees on campus. It is a special service they hope will have a positive ripple effect.

“We never know what is happening in someone’s life,” said MC Administrator Beca Benson.

The initiative began last year to make sure the college community has what it needs to survive.

“We knew the food insecurity existed among our students and employees, and at the start of the pandemic, we really saw the increase in need,” Benson said.

“I remember when I was a student, I hated to have to call my parents and say I need money for food because they help with so many other things,” said Shari Barns with Community Services.

It was created through the Office of Christian Life & Leadership. Pantry volunteers offer everything from food to hygiene products.

“Some of our popular items in the food pantry is peanut butter and jelly, canned meat products, and things like that. We also have some refrigerated items that go pretty well. Right now, it’s kind of low, but this goes pretty fast, frozen pizza and things like that, things that can go in the microwave,” Barnes said.

The university says the pantry has become an essential piece on the Clinton campus due to inflation scares, easy accessibility, and the increase in food costs.

“From April 1, 2021, to today, we’ve seen hundreds of students and employees across our campus access and use the supplies we have here in the food pantry,” said Benson. “We have easily doubled our number of patrons from the first two months of being open in the spring of 21 to the fall of 22.”

As the demand grows, so does the need to keep these shelves stocked with the necessities in order to continue to help this college community.

“We are a donation-based food pantry organization, and we would welcome any donation someone wants to apply,” Benson said. “That is an easy step that we can be part of, and we can take in someone’s life to help.”

Officials say a valid staff or student ID is the only requirement to receive items from the pantry.

If you would like to donate to help Mississippi college supply food and hygiene products to help those in need on the campus, click here.

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