The Campus Alliance for Resource Education (CARE) is hosting several upcoming events and programs to address food insecurity for student parents including Minerva’s Market and the mobile food pantry throughout this semester.
CARE is a resource center serving students that are off-campus, commuters, veterans, adult learners, former foster children, students with children and more.
“The CARE office is the host, but it takes a village to host [the mobile food pantry],” the executive director of CARE Amy O’Keefe, said. “[The mobile food pantry] took about 60 volunteers, so we definitely couldn’t do it by ourselves.”
The mobile food pantry is a partnership between CARE and the Tarrant Area Food Bank. The mobile food truck is open for students, staff, faculty, and community members. The mobile food pantry will be at Texas Woman’s University every third Wednesday of the month until the end of the school year.
“The mobile food pantry is open to anybody in need, but people should never worry about qualifying because no one will be turned away,” O’Keefe said.
The most recent mobile food pantry visit was on Sept. 15 and served a total of 559 people in 167 households. The food pantry had items such as eggs, yogurt, beans, canned fruits, peanut butter, spaghetti, walnuts, ravioli, green beans and guacamole. The selection of the food provided was great, because protein is generally the hardest to supply, O’Keefe said.
In addition to the mobile food pantry, TWU has introduced a new, free food pantry called Minerva’s Market that students can shop at once a week. Minerva’s Market is a food pantry servicing students in Hubbard Hall and is open Monday through Wednesday from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and Thursdays by appointment. This program is intended to fill the gap for students experiencing food insecurity.
“These resources are really important because they address an immediate need,” O’Keefe said. “So having an office that focuses on making sure we can help students who might be struggling get their basic needs is crucial for them to be able to be a successful student.”
The CARE department wants students who have kids to know that they belong here, and that their experience as a college student and as a parent is valid and recognized, O’Keefe said. The office focuses on these needs in a purposeful way so that the university can communicate with students and reflect how much they are about students while helping them navigate these resources.
Donations are needed for feminine hygiene products, toothpaste, peanut butter, jelly, soups, pasta and pasta sauce, ready-to-eat meals like microwave mac and cheese or canned tuna, and instant oatmeal, according to the Minerva’s Market website. To volunteer with either of these programs, contact the CARE office.
Maddie Ray can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.