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Dusty’s Food Pantry expands services amid pandemic

Dusty’s Food Pantry expands services amid pandemic

By Juan Barrera
Bridge contributing writer

Published Monday, Nov. 16, 2020

Around its third anniversary, Dusty’s Food Pantry offers new services for students. Dusty’s Food Pantry Coordinator Mariana Rodriguez said the food pantry adapted to the new-normal of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Located at the Office of Student Conduct and Community Engagement, students can find foods ranging from granola bars to noodles and canned protein to hygienic products such as shampoo, soap and toothbrushes.

In order to adapt to the novel coronavirus, staff members frequently sanitize the pantry and items donated before making them available for the students. The pantry also expanded its services by opening a second location at the University Village.

Juan Barrera | Bridge
An unidentified student cleans the shelves at Dusty’s Food Pantry on Nov. 5.

Jackelyn Gonzalez, a two-year resident of the University Village, said she feels uncomfortable using these services.

“I think there aren’t enough items and I would not want to take them from those who need it more than myself,” Gonzalez said.

She said she might consider using the food pantry after discovering SCCE divides its products with the University Villages’s food pantry.

“I did not know the Village had a food pantry,” Gonzalez said. “I think they should promote it more. I haven’t seen it on social media or anything.”

Senior psychology and communication double major Maria Rodriguez

“I was impressed when I first heard about it,” Maria Rodriguez said. “The food pantry is very helpful for students living on campus and those who run on a tight schedule.”

Juan Barrera | Bridge
An unidentified student demonstrates how to load a bag at Dusty’s Food Pantry on Nov. 5.

However, Gonzalez sought the services of the food pantry located at the University Village and received.

Maria Rodriguez said “fresh produce” would improve the pantry. Meanwhile, Gonzalez said “meat, milk and frozen meals” would be beneficial.

The pantry coordinator said one new project includes adding a refrigerator to the pantry. This allows the facility to offer new food items previously unavailable there.

“Hunger-free students achieving success–that’s what we want to see,” Mariana Rodriguez said.Interested persons may seek the pantry’s services may contact the Office of Student Conduct and Community Engagement, Student Center 226, (956) 326-2265 or via email at scce@tamiu.edu.

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