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Food pantry offers help to students, staff

By Kenneth Medley
On September 11, 2013

East Tennessee State University faculty and students have put forth an effort to end hunger on campus by establishing a food pantry for the use of students and faculty.
The task was a collaborative effort of the Staff Senate, the department of social work, the Student Government Association and other organizations on campus.
Michael Smith, director and co-chair of the Steering Committee of Bucky's Food Pantry, has been involved since its inception by establishing Bucky's Food Pantry, located in the Mini-Dome in Room W277.
The main focus of the food pantry is to help retain students by relieving some of the financial stress with regards to food and non-food baby products in order to ensure that students have every opportunity for success, Smith said.
Another goal of the food pantry is to raise awareness of food insecurity and hunger on the ETSU campus.
The food pantry on campus is not unique to ETSU. Many other campuses throughout the nation have similar organizations.
Food insecurity among students is not a local problem and the individuals volunteering at Bucky's are striving to ensure students and faculty at ETSU have an option for food if they cannot afford it themselves.    
With the downsizing of businesses, many people are using this time to return to school and have fallen on financial hard times, creating a need for institutions like this, Smith said.
There is a stigma around using food pantries, Smith said.
"In our culture few people feel comfortable asking for help, especially help from strangers," he said.  
The food pantry was organized to be interdependent on the community just as Smith believes people are interdependent on each other.
People rely on others to provide the items they disperse to persons in need.
The food pantry is discreet with the application process being online, and orders are also online, said Thomas Hill, co-chair of the Steering Committee and head of operations.
Special arrangements can be made for people to pick up their food without ever having to go to the food pantry itself.  
Hill said no income check is required. A simple self-declaration is needed to receive benefits from Bucky's.  
To use the food pantry, fill out an application at etsu.edu/foodpantry or email: foodpantry@etsu.edu.


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