Arkansas Tech Food Bank to Serve Struggling College Students

The G&G Cupboard Opens Monday Oct. 2

RUSSELLVILLE, Ark. - One in 5 Arkansans are food insecure, according to the Arkansas Food Bank. 

The statistic means 20 percent of residents in the state don't know where their next meal is coming from. 

Often times the young adult demographic is ignored when there is a need. 

Starting Monday, Arkansas Tech students, faculty and staff who are facing hunger have a new resource. 

A white building near the ATU campus has had many identities, like a restaurant and coffee shop, but come Monday it will serve others like never before. 

"It's so great, I remember the first time walking in here and seeing all the food on the shelves and it was such a touching feeling," Because We Can students volunteer and ATU senior Marlie Ball said. 

The white building at 1019 N. Arkansas Ave. is the home of the Green and Gold Cupboard -- a food bank strictly for Arkansas Tech students, faculty and staff. 

"No means testing. You show up, you tell us you're hungry, we'll get you fed," James Stobaugh, Asst. Prof. of Sociology and co-chair of the Because We Can student organization at ATU said. 

The facility is provided by ATU, and new shelves and other necessities to run a food bank were made possible by a 67,000 dollar grant from Tyson Foods. 

A 5 week food drive over the summer helped provide the non-perishables and other partnerships will allow more food to be distributed too. 

But the shelves are stocked thanks to dozens of "Because We Can" volunteers. 

The 300 student volunteers are tackling some of the areas biggest issues like hunger. 

 "The school year doesn't go by without me finding out that a student is living in their car," Stobaugh said. 

 "It's a lot more than anyone would ever think of or notice because it is hard for those people to come forward and say that they need help," Ball said. 

Arkansas ranks 2nd in food insecurity around the country. And those needing help include college students.

"For many students they struggle to get by, but the first bill they pay is their phone because they need it for their studies and their course work," Stobaugh said. 

A choice between food and school made easier made with the help of these Arkansas Tech students and faculty. 

 "You stick with your family. You provide for them, you care for them and that's what we're here to do," ATU junior and Because We Can volunteer, Sydney Stone said.  

While there's no sign out front of the white building, so students can be discrete, its purpose is clear. 

"I'm incredibly proud to be a part of it," Ball said.  

The Green & Gold Cupboard will be open Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 3 to 6 pm. 

You need a current Arkansas Tech ID to receive assistance. 

Basic hygiene products are also available. 

If you'd like to help them stock their shelves, click here for more on how to donate. 

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