True Blue Pantry aims to end food insecurity in students

The True Blue Pantry on campus seeks to eliminate student hunger on campus by offering free food to students at TU.

Food. We all need it. We all want it. But sometimes, it is a bit hard to come by. Maybe you struggle knowing where your next meal will come from, or you wonder whether you’ve eaten a vegetable all week. An article published earlier this month in The International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health found that 43.5% of students in higher education suffer from food insecurity, that is, a lack of resources necessary for a healthy and sustainable diet. The causes of food insecurity are many, from a lack of money to a lack of healthy food options. No matter the cause however, no student should have to choose between food and school.

The True Blue Pantry seeks to solve this problem for our campus. Located at 8th & Gary in LaFortune Hall (across from the Reynolds Center and in the same building that the bike shop used to be), the True Blue Pantry provides food for any student, staff or faculty member. Open from 12 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 7 p.m. Friday’s, anyone who needs food can come by and fill out a one-time application to indicate your needs.

The pantry provides a wide range of food options like fresh produce, canned goods and microwaveable or other easy to prepare meals. The pantry also provides free toiletries, such as shampoo, soap and women’s sanitary supplies. New shipments come in every week from Oasis and the Eastern Oklahoma Food Bank, which also includes gluten and dairy free options.

The True Blue Pantry not only exists to alleviate food-related stress among students, but to also serve the community by working to remove the stigma surrounding food insecurity. Diego Espinosa Valdez, the GA for the True Blue Pantry, says, “This is a place where students can alleviate their stress. We don’t want the community to struggle with food insecurity, and we want to remove the stigma. We want this to be a safe space where students can come and talk. We can even provide information about other food options and services if True Blue doesn’t work for you.” In addition to de-stigmatizing food insecurity, the True Blue Pantry also aims to promote and provide education around healthy eating and healthy living.

How can students get involved with the True Blue Pantry? Spread the word, Diego says. 44% of students on campus have no idea that there is a free, local food pantry here at TU. Students can also donate if they have the resources, or just come by on Mondays (delivery days)to help unpack supplies. Reach out to your friends if they are struggling and let them know that there are resources. It is hard enough to provide for yourself generally, but with inflation and the added stress of school it becomes even more difficult.

Living on your own for the first time presents many challenges, but food insecurity does not have to be one of them. Whether you are food insecure or just insecure about how to maintain a consistent, healthy diet, the True Blue Pantry is here to serve you.

True Blue Pantry is at 8th & Gary in LaFortune Hall, with free and healthy food options for anyone on campus.
Open Mon-Thurs 12-7pm and Fri 8am-7pm

Post Author: Mary Lickona