The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Toro’s food pantry plans its expansion all across district

Madison Byars picks out apples at the NE Campus’ first fresh food market event. Students can receive fresh produce, dairy and meat at food pantries at certain campuses. Photo by Joseph Serrata/The Collegian

Tony Harris

There were times when NE student Jonathon Moore would eat ramen noodles out of a package for days.

“A guy can’t live like that,” he said.

Being raised in semi-poverty, Moore said the connection between a healthy meal and a good education was not lost on him.

“You’ve got to feed your brain with the proper nutrition in order to be able to retain information,” he said.

Needing assistance to feed himself, Moore turned to Mission Arlington, a local religious social outreach center. He said while he was reluctant to ask for canned foods on his first visit, it became clear to him he should not feel embarrassed to ask for help.

Toro’s Pantry is a food bank dedicated to combating hunger among TCC students, and it’s expanding to more campuses in the fall to meet these increased demands.

Toro’s pantry has the feeling of a family corner store, NE sociology instructor Cheryl North said. Only a student ID is needed to grab lunch or a scantron.

The pantry was created to help give students and faculty a space free of social notions and embarrassment unfairly associated with the use of food banks, said North, the woman behind the pantry.

NE volunteers arrange the shelves at the campus food pantry in NCAB 1136. Students run the pantry to help feed students.
Collegian file photo

Inside the pantry, there are shelves stocked with dry and canned goods along with refrigerated coolers lined with milk, cheese and eggs. Students with children can also find baby items like diapers and formula.

The pantry is made possible by donations. Students and faculty can help provide for those in need as well.

The pantry is also a popular place for students to fulfill their service-learning projects and earn a wage as a hired worker, North said.

“The convenient location on campus is ideal for students who travel,” North said. “You can get your hours while you are already here.”

Toro’s Pantry has been so needed that North is now

NW students, faculty and staff participate in the Community Food Market on NW Campus. The monthly food market also serves the surrounding community with fresh produce.
Collegian file photo

expanding her outreach. Multiple TCC campuses now have food pantry projects underway that will be in place in the fall.

“The idea is that we want students, regardless of which campus they attend classes on, to have this benefit that is such a benefit for student success,” North said.

Much of the problem with an expansion of the food pantry has been the issue of not enough space, she said. NW Campus, which is currently undergoing an architectural renovation, has shown a commitment to the food pantry project.

After working with NW dean of humanities Lisa Benedetti and their architectural team, North said officials are including a space built for a newly constructed food pantry.

“The students on NW Campus will benefit greatly from having a food pantry on our new campus,” Benedetti said. “With food insecurity being at an all-time high, the need can be addressed on a daily or weekly basis for our students.”

Working with the building team will remedy some of the problems associated with finding the space necessary to house a food pantry.

“That just shows that the college district supports this to have it built into their blueprints,” North said.

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