Tiger Food Exchange invites students to use food pantry and campus garden


by Samantha Dean 
During the course of the 2014-2015 year, the Fort Hays State University Tiger Food Exchange grew with the help of generous donations by local businesses, churches, members of the community and the Tiger family.

The pantry, on the first floor of the Forsyth Library, now contains approximately 2,000 canned items alone.

"The Kansas Health Foundation grant, given to us last year, really has helped us expand," said Dr. Shala Mills, chair of the Department of Political Science and co-chair of the Campus Food and Hunger Initiatives.

The pantry is full of non-perishable food items, frozen meats, cookbooks, recipes and laundry kits. Students are invited to take what they need and leave what they can.

"At the Tiger Food Exchange, we have made certain that there is no stigma associated with its use," said Sarah Bailey, a WaKeeney graduate and the 2014-2015 student coordinator. "We offer service to anyone regardless of their status or position in the community. In short, our program is based only on need."

"Sometimes students don't have a paycheck or get an unexpected bill," said Mills. "We want them to know that the pantry is always there for them."

Aside from the pantry, the grant also aided in creating the Victor E. Garden, located near the Robbins Center. The garden helps supply the pantry with vegetables.

"We encourage anyone to come to the garden and enjoy fresh vegetables," said Mills. "We will also have garden produce available this fall for our Fresh Food Fridays."

Tiger Food Exchange will have a table at the back-to-school picnic on Aug. 17 to promote the pantry and spread the word about what services they offer the campus community.

"In the past, we have conducted events such as hosting live instructional presentations on canning and food preservation, cooking, food budgeting, and other similar topics. We also participated in Earth Day and had significant student participation during the Big Event," said Bailey.

"The success of both Tiger Food Exchange and Fresh Food Friday has contributed to the entire campus community," said Bailey. "We are the FHSU family, and we take care of our own. Simple as that."

For more information, contact Mills during the summer at 785-628-4425 or samills@fhsu.edu, or contact Dr. Jean Gleichsner, associate professor of agriculture, during the school year at 785-628-4023 or jgleichs@fhsu.edu. Also, be sure to like the FHSU Food and Hunger Initiatives on Facebook.

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