CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - Southeast Missouri State University is launching the Redhawk Food Pantry on campus.
The food pantry will have a soft opening on March 20 but will be fully operational in the fall of 2017.
As the food pantry is taking shape, a food drive is taking place right now to help better stock the pantry for when it opens.
Bins are placed throughout the campus for food to be d ropped off and collected.
The Redhawk Food Pantry will be self-sufficient and at no costs for the students or faculty.
Dr. Bruce Skinner, Student Success and Auxiliary Services Assistant Vice President, said it's important to make sure these students have everything they need to help them get the best education possible.
"If they're eating five meals a week, or six meals a week, and they're just not going to be able to focus on their academics," Skinner said. "That leads to the issue about financial. They may have to make a decision on do I get everything I need grocery-wise or do I pay my rent, my tuition."
Skinner explained that during a survey, some students were food insecure and didn't have enough funds to eat every day.
"We have examples from students where they've told us they have run into, what we call, food insecurity," Skinner said. "They may have enough food for five out of the seven days out of the week, but they do find themselves short at some point. We did a survey of our students and about fifteen percent of them indicated that in the fall semester they had experienced this."
Skinner said this food pantry is targeted more for students and faculty that are single parents, students that have been emancipated and non-traditional students to name a few.
Skinner said the food pantry is intended to help them out in their time of need.
"What we're hoping to do is be a supplementary pantry," Skinner said. "Our goal isn't to provide all the food you need for a week, a month. It's really to bridge that gap where you have an issue of maybe just a couple of days."
The food pantry will be housed in the basement of the Kent Library where the Textbook Rental area is.
If you would like to donate any food items, most items needed include canned items (beef stew, chili, soup, tuna and other canned meats), dry goods (such as cereal, boxed meals and pasta), snacks, condiments and other items such as soap, deodorant and toothbrushes.