The Save Our Students or S.O.S. Food Pantry will remain open to students during the winter break.
The pantry provides emergency nutritional assistance to APSU students in need.
“During the breaks, summer and winter, I believe the pantry is going to be open Tuesdays and Fridays 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. just because there are not too many people [utilizing the pantry] then,” Galliard said.
However, if someone needs to come in, during a special circumstance, outside of those hours of operation “that’s completely fine.”
The pantry is closed whenever the university is closed. So, Monday December 23-27 the pantry, like the university, will be closed.
However, the week prior to that Galliard will try to set up those who visit the pantry with extra food to help make it through that time.
At the end of last winter break, that January, the pantry received nearly twice as many people as compared to January of 2018 according to Alexandra Wills, Director of the Center for Service-Learning & Community Engagement.
While she can’t say for sure it had to do with the government shutdown that happened during that time, Wills noted that it was a huge jump for it just to be random.
“That was a special circumstance where we had an influx in people,” Galliard said. “If anything like that happens again in January, hopefully, we will be prepared for that.”
To be prepared the pantry needs a steady stream of donations. Food for Fines is one program that the pantry relies on.
Food for Fines is a program created by campus public safety that accepts 10 non-perishable food items as payment for one parking ticket, with a maximum of two tickets waived per person.
The items will be donated to the campus’ S.O.S. Food Pantry.
“That helps us out over winter. That really increases our food pantry stock,” Maddie Galliard, Pantry and Gardens Manager said.
Towards the end of the semester “a lot of students are running out of meal plan money” and money in general according to Galliard. This is when the S.O.S. Food Pantry sees their highest number of visitors.
Many organizations put on food drives for the pantry which help them through this time.
“It’s Thanksgiving. It’s Christmas. Everyone is feeling very giving and very generous. Luckily here on campus all of that gets kind of directed at us, which is really great,” Galliard said.
The pantry provided Thanksgiving boxes with turkeys, milk, eggs, and other traditional Thanksgiving side items for students in need over the holiday. Galliard hopes to do something similar at Christmas if they get the donations to do that.
“Produce is always welcome. We’re always trying to support a healthy diet,” Galliard said. “Canned vegetables. We have so many they’re toppling over.”
Things that the pantry runs out of very quickly are pastas, rice, breakfast foods like cereal or oatmeal and snack foods according to Galliard.
“A lot of people don’t realize that we have our Green Room, but we accept men’s, women’s and children’s clothing all in good condition. We accept household items like kitchen supplies or school supplies,” Galliard said. “Something very, very crucial to the Green Room is hygiene items like toothbrush, toothpaste, feminine hygiene, shampoo and conditioner.”
Additionally, the Green Room provides children, toddler and infant clothes and materials to help support APSU’s nontraditional population.
“Typically, these students have families. So, we do provide infant clothing, children’s clothing, diapers, formula, bottles, toys,” Galliard said. “So, we will always accept any baby related items.”
“As it gets colder out, we have seen an increase in food insecurity and housing insecurity,” Galliard said. “So, we want people to know that we will not only provide them with food assistance, clothing, but if they are having issues with housing, we will do everything we can to help them.”
The pantry offers a number of resources outside of just food. They have a resource table discussing counseling services, how you can get assistance paying your utility bills, how you can apply for SNAP or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Benefits and many other topics.
“If someone comes in here and they need food assistance and then other things, we will do what we can,” Galliard said. “I’ve had people sit at my desk and apply for jobs, if they are in need of extra income or income in general.”
There are no income requirements to use the S.O.S. Food Pantry. It is available to all APSU students.