The Truman State University Food Pack Program is a service on campus through which students can go to the SERVE Center and receive packs of food.
The program is meant to help students who are struggling to make ends meet or experiencing food insecurity. The program is run out of the SERVE Center, with a committee comprised of students, faculty and staff.
The Food Pack Program began as a class project of Casey Cook’s which she then took to J.d Smiser, Director of Office of Citizenship and Community Standards. Together they developed a plan to address food insecurity on campus, Brian Ott, assistant professor of sociology and Food Pack committee member, said.
“The committee spoke with people from the Pantry for Adair County, and they helped us in organizing the idea of the food pack program,” Ott said. “Smiser runs the SERVE Center and said that it is a place that could be utilized as a point of distribution for this program.”
The food comes from the Pantry for Adair County, and the committee has recently been made aware that they can add food that has been donated to them to the packs, which will allow for the packs to become a little larger than what they already are, Ott said. Collections for the program will begin during the Big Week of Giving, with some of the collections going directly to the food pack program, and the rest going to the Pantry for Adair County.
The packs are currently able to feed one person for a day or two, with a vegetarian option available. This service is open to any student who brings their student ID to the SERVE Center, which is located on the first floor of the Student Union Building. All food packs given out are logged along with the people receiving the food. The information is then given to the Pantry for Adair County, so they can report how many people in the community they are serving, because the food comes from them. PAC also gives food to Adair County residents up to twice a month.
“The committee has been finding that, for a lot of students, they can’t make it to and from the Pantry for Adair County for any number of reasons,” Ott said. “One of them being, if a student goes there and gets a wagon full of food, they often don’t have a way to transport it.”
The ultimate goal is to have a food pantry on campus. If that is achieved then the service might expand to offer other items, like basic toiletries, Ott said.
“We are able to give out two food packs a month to a student, and only one per week,” Mollie Lamzik SERVE Center worker said. “We do also offer a third and fourth emergency food packs to students who are in need of them. We have them fill out a small form and approve it to give them the extra packs. The third and fourth packs can still only be received once a week.”
The Food Pack Program has help from all across campus, including faculty members, Student Government, the SERVE Center and various other offices to help students who find themselves food insecure. One of those members is Kathleen Placke, food pantry committee Student Government designee.
“This has been a project that Student Government has wanted to start for a while, but Casey Cook already began the project,” Placke said.