‘The store’ becomes partners with Central Texas Food Bank

BrenShavia Jordan | Broadcast Reporter

On Dec 1, 2017, Baylor opened a food pantry called The Store. This initiative was started to combat the negative stigma of food insecurity on campus.

The pantry provides non-perishable food items along with hygiene products for students. The Store runs on donations and students have access with their Baylor ID.

Since opening, the pantry has grown from serving 40 students weekly to 230 — making it difficult to keep the shelves replenished. This month the pantry will transition to The Store runs on donations and has a new partnership with The Central Texas Food Bank.

Director of Student Success Initiatives, Michelle Cohenour, and Food Insecurity Intern, Brie McKinney, share how this partnership will help serve students more frequently.

“Now because of this partnership we will be able to serve a lot more students a bigger variety of foods,” McKinney said. “It will be more stable because food will be coming in more frequently. It is something students can rely on, so this was a partnership that we did a lot of work to fight for [on behalf] of our program and for our students.

To qualify, students fill out a USDA food form that will be kept on file for a year. The process takes about five minutes and once it is complete, students can access the pantry with a swipe of their Baylor ID.

“Our team is trained and ready to help students complete that paperwork,” Cohenour said.

According to the Baylor Student Government, one in four students are food insecure. Student Government, in connection with The Store, hosted the weeklong Sic Hunger food drive. Their aim was to bring awareness and get students involved to make a difference.

Sophomore Class Vice President, Sutton Houser, shared his hope moving forward for Baylor’s campus.

“Having that caring community that Baylor has, and the Christian commitment that we have, I would say rally behind that,” Housser said. “Even though you may not have this food insecurity yourself, it is still a problem on our campus. It is something we can easily help out by donating a couple of non-perishable canned items. [It is] very easy to give and change someone’s life.”

The store wants to be a safe place, and students who shop will remain anonymous.

“This is something a lot of students may struggle with but a lot of them don’t talk about it. We want this to be a safe place that they feel welcomed to come,” McKinney said.

In addition, students can also access the Free Farmers Market, Mobile Food Pantry and The Fridge.

“We also have our Free Farmers Market and that is coming up this spring. We are going to have that in April, so stay tuned for that,” Cohenour said.

The Store is located in Sid Richardson 047 (east wing, lower level) and is always accepting donations.