CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Through a gracious donation of over 4,000 pounds of fresh produce, breads, and pastry items, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi and the Coastal Bend Food Bank (CBFB) are helping to keep Izzy’s Food Pantry stocked and serving the needs of hungry and hardworking college students. Taking another step in the battle against food insecurity, A&M- Corpus Christi and the CBFB unveiled the new Izzy’s Food Pantry “Fresh Food Friday” program Friday, Sept. 20, serving more than 300 Islander Students.
“Going to college is quite costly,” said Vinnie Van Puyvelde, graduate student in the kinesiology program. “It’s important to take care of yourself, and in college, a lot of students don’t necessarily eat so healthy, so I think it’s great that we can come and get fresh higher quality foods at no cost.”
While the Island University works to not only mediate and prevent student hunger, staggering numbers from the United States Government Accountability Office show that in 2018, 30% of college students experienced food insecurity across the nation; but the Island University is fighting back against those numbers. Today, the giveaway not only focused on fresh foods like carrots, squash, and bell peppers, but also taught students delicious and healthy ways to utilize them.
“Right now, in South Texas there is a high risk for chronic obesity and diabetes,” said Tracy Atkins, CBFB Nutrition Educator. “We at the Food Bank know that being able to provide fresh fruits and vegetables to college students reduces the risk for those health concerns. We want them to have that good energy to be able to study hard and succeed.”
Although most items offered at Izzy’s Food Pantry are non-perishable/shelf stable items, the addition of refrigerator space last spring created an opportunity to occasionally offer lunch meats, eggs, dairy and other refrigerated items to students at no cost. Recent numbers show an average of 100 students utilize the pantry every week, and in August 2019 alone, 131 new users registered for services during the first week of the fall semester.
“One way that we can contribute to student success is by removing the barriers in place and by fighting food insecurity,” said Dr. Lisa O. Perez, TAMU-CC Assistant Vice President of Student Life. “Our students showed us today there is a need, and we are here to help them remove that worry and focus on school.”
Looking to the future, Izzy’s Food Pantry will begin offering personal hygiene and toiletry items following a generous grant from the Coastal Bend Community Foundation. Fresh Food Fridays are scheduled to continue once a month on the following dates: Oct. 18, Nov. 15, Feb. 14, March 20, and April 17. For more information on how you can donate to or utilize the services of Izzy’s Food Pantry, contact 361.825.3663 or email, firstname.lastname@example.org.