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Food bank opens to help local college students who face food shortages

A new food pantry will support local college students who don't have ready access to food.

Officials, faculty, staff, and students at Texas A&M Texarkana came together with community members and Harvest Regional Food Bank Texarkana officials on Wednesday to launch the university food pantry.

The Eagle Pantry originated when college officials were told about the prevalence of food insecurity among local college students around the nation and in Texarkana.

A local survey found that around 30% of students did not believe they had enough food for themselves and/or their households. An additional 15% of the students who were surveyed said they did not have enough food at least three times during the semester.

Twenty percent of students said they had used a food pantry in the past.

Michael Stephenson, assistant director of student life, said the survey was "eye-opening."

“You know the statistics are out there, but surveying our own students and seeing that it affects people we know really hit home," he said. "We decided something needed to be done.”

Harvest Regional Food Bank will help ensure the Eagle Pantry has a steady stock of non-perishable food items along with hygiene items as well.

The Eagle Pantry will be open once a month, but this could change if the need is shown to be higher than expected.

Students who find themselves in need outside of the pantry hours will have an exclusive email address.

Photo above: Marla Runion, Harvest Regional Food Bank Board Treasurer; Mike Ingram, Harvest Regional Food Bank Board President; Dr. Emily Cutrer, President, TAMUT; Michael Stephenson, Assistant Director of Student Life, TAMUT; Camille Wrinke, Executive Director, Harvest Regional Food Bank.

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