The Store renovations bring improved facilities for combatting food insecurity

Lauren da Silva and Madeline Whitmore cutting the ribbon at the grand reopening of The Store. Grace Everett | Photographer

By Sarah Wang | Staff Writer

After remodeling over winter break, The Store — Baylor’s on-campus food pantry — made its debut Friday in the east wing basement of the Sid Richardson Building.

The grand reopening event began with a speech given by Lauren da Silva, The Store’s program director, thanking those who have been supportive of The Store and reiterated their goal to address food insecurities on
Baylor’s campus.

The Store is a basic needs program that works collaboratively on campus and with the local community to help food insecurity among students.

According to da Silva, the need to remodel the space originates from their team’s perception that the old store’s appearance was not enough to reflect the same standards of excellence in the facilities people see over campus and did not fit in with the rest of campus.

“We felt like it was very important that we create a space that feels like it belongs with the rest of Baylor’s campus because we want the students that use the store to feel like they belong,” da Silva said. “I think it was one of the ways that we can show them that we see them and that we acknowledge their difficulties and that we care deeply about them.”

Madeline Whitmore, graduate assistant for The Store, said the remodeling includes new fridges, freezers, repainted walls and new flooring. She said the new fridges would hopefully increase capacity and space for more produce and items that can’t be placed on the shelves, such as fruits, vegetables, meat and milk.

“We’re really hoping that we’re going to be able to widen and increase our capacity [to] hopefully meet more needs,” Whitmore said.

For the spring semester, da Silva said they aim to provide fresh products to students more consistently and provide food from a variety of different cultures.

“A lot of international students make use of The Store,” da Silva said. “We want to be sure to provide options to them that feel familiar so that they can make food for themselves that feels comfortable and like home.”

Da Silva also said their concern is that students who are dealing with food insecurity at Baylor are too ashamed to come forward or are not aware The Store exists.

“Food insecurity is here,” da Silva said. “We are not immune to it. That’s nothing to be ashamed of, and we are here to help.