CAES food pantry opens to students in need

What started out as a conversation about hunger among graduate students and faculty has turned into the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences food pantry, open to any student in need.  For some graduate and out-of-state students, the expense of tuition and housing leave little money left for food.

“We found out that some CAES students were having to make the choice between paying for books or buying food,” says Dr. Jane Walker, interim chair of the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences.

A pilot program of sorts, a food pantry in Benbow Hall where Walker and FCS faculty are located, opened in May. The FCS faculty held monthly information sessions for Benbow students June through August, but Walker’s concern was that the issue of hunger among students was more widespread than just in her department.

A discussion with CAES leadership confirmed her worry, but also set a plan in motion to help alleviate hunger among students. The CAES Food Pantry will open by Nov. 1 with locations in Benbow, Carver, C.H. Moore and Webb halls.

Each pantry will offer non-perishable food, and hygiene items, on a confidential honors system. Items are supplied by various donors including a food drive at the annual CAES alumni homecoming celebration, and by student organizations.

“We’re working with students that, for whatever reason, may not be able to eat sometimes,” says Dr. Anthony Yeboah, chairman of the Department of Agribusiness, Applied Economics and Agricultural Education. “The CAES food pantry is a great idea in support of our students.”

This year’s Small Farms Week observance, March 25-31, will also feature a food drive with some of the collections supporting the CAES food pantry. For more information about how to donate or help students, contact Student Services Director Kishaa James at or 285-4798.