Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Roadrunner Pantry opens to help UTSA students in need


(March 1, 2017) -- The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) community is coming together to help UTSA students by opening the UTSA Roadrunner Pantry. The pantry, which has been more than two years in the making, aims to help UTSA students by providing them with the essentials they need to thrive.

Rebecca Conejo, UTSA English major, UTSA University Center (UC) student manager and UC Advisory Council chair, helped organize the pantry, along with Nikki Lee, UC senior associate director of events management.

"I know people who've said they've gone hungry because they didn't have access to food," Conejo said.

The growing cost of living is a major factor. For some, paying rent and tuition takes precedence over dinner.

Nau Scholar Abdul Kuba knows all too well what it's like to be hungry. Growing up in Ghana, the UTSA graduate student lost both of his parents when he was three years old. Subsequently, he was raised by his aunt. He recalls being 10 years old and weeding people's backyards on an empty stomach for one yam.

Kuba's scholarship covers one year of school. And although he's saving up for next year, he's an international student so his work hours as a research assistant are limited. To increase his savings, he often goes without food and other necessities.

He says the Roadrunner Pantry will fill a hole in his life and help him focus on his education.

"There is a saying: 'A sound mind is found in a sound body,'" Kuba said. "If I could be released of the burden of thinking about what I will eat, I will have a peaceful mind to concentrate on my studies."

The Roadrunner Pantry will be housed in University Center North (UC 1.04.06) next to the UPS Store. Set up like a grocery store, any UTSA student with a valid UTSA ID will be able to go shopping for non-perishable foods such as peanut butter, canned vegetables and fruit, pasta, soup and even toiletries, free of charge.

Keeping the shelves stocked will take the entire UTSA community. Donations can be dropped off at the Roadrunner Pantry Donation Station in the UC across from the bookstore. A list of acceptable donations can be found here.

Conejo and other pantry organizers challenge all Roadrunners to support the pantry. They encourage departments and offices to hold donation drives.

"Helping others helps us all in return," Conejo said. "Bettering the lives of others betters ourselves."

The Roadrunner Pantry grand opening is scheduled at noon on Monday, March 6 at the UC North entrance off Circle Dr. The pantry will be open for shoppers and tours following the ribbon cutting.

"Eradicating food insecurities won't happen overnight," Conejo said. "But if we take these little steps, we're helping meet the ultimate goal of student success."

Kuba added his gratitude for the UTSA family, "I appreciate everyone who is trying their best to support me and others in the same condition."

- Courtney Clevenger

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Learn more about the Roadrunner Pantry, including operating hours and how you can donate.

Learn more about the UTSA University Center.

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