College is a major investment. For some students, once tuition is paid and books and other school expenses are addressed, there is not enough money left to cover food and other essential items. According to survey results released by Temple University’s Hope Center for College, Community and Justice, 45% of student respondents from more than 100 institutions said they had been food insecure in the past 30 days. That means in a college class of 30, 14 students may not know when—or if—they’ll eat that day.
Improving Student Success by Assisting with Essential Needs
With a mission to increase student success, the Trailblazer Care Pantry aims to support UNT Dallas students by addressing food insecurity and other student stressors. “Having healthy – and enough – food, and access to other care items, leads to increased academic performance, course retention, and persistence to graduating on time,” explains Chase Ragland, Assistant Director of Student Services, and pantry coordinator. “Also, adding this resource to our collection of student services demonstrates to our students that we see them, and we are here for them, which we hope helps create a strong sense of belonging to UNT Dallas.”
The pantry will provide access to both fresh and non-perishable food items, personal care items, and baby/child-care products. There will also be a “career closet” for students to access business clothing such as ties, suit jackets, blouses, business shoes, etc. as they prepare to interview for jobs and internships and enter the workforce. Additional items will be added as needs arise. The pantry will also refer students to additional resources both on campus and in the community. All goods and services are free to students and are made possible by donations.
Plans for the future include programming such as nutrition education, healthy cooking workshops, and financial literacy-based programs. “We also hope to create education-based partnerships with local community partners to create co-sponsored programs,” said Ragland.
How Donations Help
“Monetary donations help with stocking and restocking the pantry with needed items,” shared Ragland. “The support we’ve received so far has been incredible. There is not a specific amount of money that we are hoping to raise – any monetary donation is accepted and appreciated.”
In addition to cash donations, the pantry accepts non-perishable and perishable food items, personal care/hygiene items, baby items, clothing, etc. Donations are currently being accepted in the Student Affairs suite (Student Center room 2108).
The Trailblazer Care Pantry is located on the second floor of the Student Center in room 2043. A soft opening is expected later this spring semester, with the grand opening set for August 25.
Support the Trailblazer Care Pantry