By Elisabeth Lively
Layout and Design Editor
In early December, the Northeast Texas Community College Social Work Club opened the doors for the first time to a campus food pantry. The idea for the Eagle Pantry was started by students in the Social Work Club. The club partnered with the Wesley Fellowship Ministry to house the Eagle Pantry at the Wesley Fellowship building located in front of the main NTCC campus.
The pantry is open every third Thursday of the month from 12:30 to 2 p.m. and is available to all NTCC students. The Eagle Pantry will open for the first time this semester on Feb 21. Soup will be served and guests will have the opportunity to ask questions. “If anyone has a need outside of those time frames, they can come to me directly and I’ll get it set up for them to get some food.” Carmen Shurtleff, associate faculty for Social Work, said. “I think that we only had two [students] utilize the food pantry, but we did open right before the holidays, so we didn’t anticipate a lot of action before it [or] even in the month of January since students are just now on campus, as well.” Those receiving food must complete a brief information sheet and present a picture ID with each visit. Tyreesha Douglas, assistant coordinator of the food pantry, said the pantry will be an asset for low-income students. “The food pantry will be beneficial to any and everyone on campus with a food insecurity who may not know where to go for help,” Douglas said. The Eagle Pantry offers an assortment of non-perishable items from ramen noodles to cans of corn, but additional donations are always accepted. All donated items must be non-perishable, non-frozen and cannot be expired. The Social Work Club members plan to host a food drive this spring to gather additional items for the pantry. “Right now, we don’t have a lot of flexibility because we’re not a large food pantry, so we don’t have 50 varieties of different fruits, so what [students] want is really limited at this moment,” Shurtleff said. “We hope in the future that we will be able to add a section for hygiene.” Each student who comes to the Eagle Pantry will receive of box of food to take home with them. The box of food that a student receives will vary in size depending on whether of not he or she is living on campus or off campus, in which the size of the student’s family will be considered. “Obviously, if they live off campus [and] they have a family of four, we’re going to give them food that feeds a family of four,” Shurtleff said. But, students are unable to receive food from the pantry if there isn’t anything on the shelves. The Social Work Club members are encouraging the campus community to help students who have a need. The group are also searching for volunteers to help stock the pantry shelves. “We got a donation right before Christmas and we have probably about five cases of canned food that needs to be stocked,” Shurtleff said. To volunteer in the food pantry, students must contact Shurtleff and set up a time to work. Students may contact Shurtleff at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up times volunteer to work in the pantry, where to drop off donations and ask additional questions.