The University of Arkansas Hope-Texarkana held the official grand opening of the “Iron Horse Pantry” Monday on the Hope campus. The goal of the pantry is to create a hunger-free UAHT campus community.
Last spring, the Office of Student Services conducted surveys among faculty, staff, and students regarding food insecurity on the UAHT campuses. Among those surveyed, over 98% were aware of food insecurity among students, and nearly 80% stated that they would be willing to donate to a food pantry. “With evidence of a need to deal with food insecurity, the UAHT campus leadership stepped up to help alleviate the problem,” said Dr. Christopher Smith, Dean of Student Services.
UAHT Chancellor, Chris Thomason is very enthusiastic about the new addition to the college, “I’m inspired by the people on and off this campus everyday,” Thomason said, “It’s the little things all of you do on and off the campus that inspire us as an institution to be even more commitive to the details of the success of our mission, which is ultimately the success of every one of our students. The challenges they face don’t end at our campus door, and one of those primary problems is that they are hungry, or their kids are hungry.”
The pantry received a $3,000 donation from the UAHT Foundation to help initiate the efforts. The UAHT Executive Cabinet approved an additional allocation of funding from student activities to assist in the start-up costs as well. The pantry also partnered with the Harvest Regional Food Bank to purchase food for the pantry. Other foods and personal hygiene items are purchased from area grocery stores.
The Iron Horse Pantry, housed on the Hope campus, is open to all currently enrolled UAHT students every other Wednesday and Thursday afternoon. An online order form is also available for U of A Texarkana students at the Texarkana campus.
Thomason finished by saying, “When you bring all of these people together, those little acts of generosity and little acts of commitment can create something as wonderful, as permanent and as deep as this and that’s the magic of the details and thats the magic of being committed. The great news is that that inspiration is going to serve students for generations now. I look forward to seeing the first students come through and get the whole approach of education served right here at UAHT, and this is a significant part of it.”
For more information, please contact Dr. Christopher Smith, Dean of Student Services at [email protected].