Thursday, November 21, 2019

Roadrunner Pantry provides solution to food insecurity on campus

Roadrunner Pantry provides solution to food insecurity on campus

Since opening in March 2017, the Roadrunner Pantry has served nearly 3,700 students.

(April 10, 2018) -- A new survey exposes a hidden reality on college campuses across the country. The first of its kind survey released this month found 36 percent of students on U.S. college campuses do not get enough to eat. The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) is tackling this food insecurity crisis.

The Roadrunner Pantry opened on the UTSA Main Campus in March 2017 with a vision to provide resources to students so they can focus on being successful in the classroom.

Set up like a grocery store, any UTSA student with a valid student ID can shop for non-perishable foods such as peanut butter, canned vegetables and fruit, pasta, soup and even toiletries, free of charge.

Since opening, the pantry has:

  • served 3,696 UTSA students
  • distributed 16,719 pounds of food
  • handed out 4,909 non-food items
  • received 17,695 pounds of donated food

“The Roadrunner Pantry has been a blessing that has allowed me to have access to food and other necessities at times when I needed it the most,” said Alicia Veliz, a junior business management student from Austin. “Everyone is so friendly and welcoming. It’s amazing to see how much a campus cares for its students by providing these resources.”

In addition to addressing the immediate need of students, the pantry promises to make a deeper impact on the campus and community. In the past year, the pantry has raised awareness to the reality of food insecurity through food drives, events and developing partnerships.

In recognition of Hunger Awareness Month last September, the pantry hosted a National Hunger Action Day to encourage the UTSA community to take action to end hunger. This event featured a cooking demonstration, food drive, film screening and guest speakers from the San Antonio Food Bank. 

Additionally, pantry staff worked with the community to support the pantry’s mission. Local grocery retailer H-E-B generously provided a $3,000 gift, a crowdfunding campaign raised $5,111, and UTSA Dining committed to providing 1,800 meals to students in need. Every penny raised goes to fill the pantry shelves.

Various departments, colleges, and organizations on campus have come together to donate time, food, and money toward making the pantry a success. Efforts include the Graduate School hosting monthly campaigns and encouraging civic engagement among students. Rhonda Minten, lecturer in the UTSA Department of History, encourages her students to donate more than 200 pounds of food per month. Since the pantry relies on donations to thrive, departments and organizations are asked to host food collection drives to maintain long-term sustainability of this campus initiative. 

Houston native Kareem Rose, a UTSA multidisciplinary studies student, is grateful for the community’s generosity.

“The Roadrunner Pantry helped me during Hurricane Harvey, as it affected my family, and throughout school year,” Rose said. “Every student is welcome. Don’t feel shy to come get food if you need it.”

This year, the pantry plans to expand services to reach more students. In the fall, pantry staff will be working with different departments and offices to add educational programming for students who visit to include budgeting, financial management and nutrition on a budget.

The Roadrunner Pantry is located on the first floor of the Student Union (SU 1.04.06), near the UPS Store. It’s open on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday each week. 

Liz Rockstroh


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

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UTSA Today is produced by University Communications and Marketing, the official news source of The University of Texas at San Antonio. Send your feedback to news@utsa.edu. Keep up-to-date on UTSA news by visiting UTSA Today. Connect with UTSA online at Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Instagram.


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