Cooler donations, grant funds allow Hawk Food Pantry to expand
After Hurricane Harvey's floodwaters destroyed the homes and other property of many University of Houston-Clear Lake students in 2017, Hawks swung into action, organizing food and clothing drives to help classmates in need.
Associate Dean of Students Iliana Melendez said that after students had collected what they needed, there was still quite a bit left over, prompting the opening of the Hawk Food Pantry, so students could continue accessing necessities. Now, Melendez said, with a $10,000 grant and some help from the Houston Food Bank, the pantry will be expanded and two coolers will be added so that the pantry's stock can include produce, dairy and meats instead of just dry goods and personal hygiene items.
"We got the $10,000 grant to help us with infrastructure and reconstructing the pantry," Melendez said. "We have partnered with the Houston Food Bank to help us keep the pantry stocked with more varied items. Since Harvey, we have learned that a lot of students need this service."
Assistant Dean of Students Kristi Randolph Simon said UHCL is assisting and supporting students involved in life crises that can affect their ability to remain in school. Her office is heading Hawk Pantry. "We will be part of the Houston Food Bank's Food for Change Economic Partnerships Program, where we will receive regular food deliveries," she said.
Once the space is renovated, Randolph Simon said, the two donated coolers will be put in and the grant funds will be used for additional shelving and other construction, computer equipment, and the salary for a student worker.
"We've had a lot of students submitting forms asking for assistance from the pantry during the closure," Melendez said. "We have many students who have lost their jobs and opportunities for employment due to the pandemic. We are incredibly grateful for the donation of the two coolers, which allows us to spend the majority of the grant funds on expanding the pantry."
Items from the Hawk Food Pantry are available to students at no cost. Learn more about the Hawk Food Pantry online.