17:47 PM

Fill-A-Meal, other initiatives support students experiencing food insecurity at UHCL


If a student has the money to be in college, then they certainly must have the money to eat, right? Wrong. Food insecurity among college students is a serious problem, and University of Houston-Clear Lake’s Office of Student Advocacy has added a holiday-oriented food initiative, Fill-A-Meal, to help ensure that Hawks in need can celebrate the holiday season without worry.

Associate Director of Outreach and Support Services Ebony Brunn said that there is a definite need among UH-Clear Lake students, and that over the last year, there had been a dramatic increase in the number of students availing themselves of services from the Hawk Pantry.

“The aim of the Fill-A-Meal initiative, which we do around Thanksgiving, is to give students what they need to prepare a Thanksgiving meal at home,” she said. “There are many students in need who cannot travel home and we are offering the items they need for a great meal to share.”

She added that campus community-wide initiative requests donations of a list of seven Thanksgiving meal side items, with collection boxes around campus and in the Office of Student Advocacy, located on the first floor of the Student Services and Classroom Building.

“Last year, we requested enough for 50 meal kits, and we received 176,” Brunn said. “It was very successful. That’s why we knew we needed to bring this program back this year.”

Associate Director in the Office of Student Advocacy LaToya Mills-Thomas said that HEB was partnering with UHCL, donating $5000 so that students can receive a $25 gift card for a turkey. “Thanks to that, we are able to give 150 turkeys to students,” she said. “This is a great point of pride for us. We are in consistent collaboration to meet the needs to students and erase food insecurity.”

Mills-Thomas added that student populations have changed; many students are now parents who are taking care of their own aging parents or grandparents.

“In addition to the Fill-A-Meal initiative, the Hawk Pantry, which was created after Hurricane Harvey, has served over 1,300 students with food and household items,” she said. “And every first and third Friday of the month, the mobile Houston Food Bank truck comes to campus. Our lobby is packed full of students waiting to meats and produce that is not available in the Hawk Pantry. We will service all students, no matter what. When we meet their needs, it keeps them in the classroom.”

For more information about the initiatives in UHCL's Office of Student Advocacy, go online.