Some of the faculty and staff and Southwestern Oklahoma State University recognized a need in some of their students and it was so strong they couldn’t ignore it.
“We did a survey some time ago and found out that forty percent of our students experience some sort of food insecurity during the course of the semester,” SWOSU professor Dr. Geo Kelly said.
The university administration, faculty, students and even people from the community came together and created a food pantry for any student that needs it, no questions asked.
“If you take your student ID to the library, they will give you a couple of books. If you bring your student ID to the food pantry, they will give you a couple of bags of food. It’s as simple as that,” Dr. Kelly said.
Latisha Holmstrom is a student at SWOSU and utilized the pantry the first week it opened.
“It’s a really comfortable experience, there’s no pressure, there’s no judgment, and I felt very understood,” Holmstrom said.
Food for the pantry is provided by a CARES Act grant and donations from staff and students. The Weatherford community has shown support and donated items. Items are available to students every week if they needed.
“The students do have a certain amount of choice for items, under grains or vegetables or meats or dairy and they can choose some variety each time,” Dr. Kelly said.
During the holidays for students, the pantry is crucial.
“I think it’s really needed especially for students that don’t go back home on the semester break. That’s a really important aspect here,” Holmstrom said.
Because is it such a needed resource and still very new, Holmstrom is doing everything she can, to get help to those that need it.
“I actually have a date to go and pick up a friend and bring her down here because I know some people that aren’t aware of it and would really appreciate it,” Holmstrom said.
The pantry is operated by student volunteers. They hope to grow the pantry to even help some faculty and staff at the school that are in need.