MARSHALL, Tx. (KSLA) - Imagine working your way through college — but struggling to pay for basic necessities, like food.
That’s the case for some students who go to Wiley College in Marshall, Texas. So the school decided to do something about it.
Wiley College launched the Wiley Cares food pantry Tuesday to address something President Dr. Herman J Felton Jr. says many aren’t conscious of — student hunger.
Dr. Felton put Gabrielle Jackson, the Coordinator of Student Services, in charge of it.
“We have a shuttle that takes our students to Walmart every Sunday to make sure they get what they need, but we know college students, and it’s not just limited to here at Wiley College, are limited on funds,” Jackson said. “Our classes end at 6 and the cafeteria closes at 7. But there are students who are involved in a lot. We have a lot of students who are committed to more than one thing, so it isn’t uncommon to see students at practices. ”
She says it took two months to put the food pantry together. Emails went out to students this week to let them know it is now open.
“I will have student workers who will come in and assist me with restocking,” Jackson said. “We are going to have a system where we label the bags and what goes in them in numbers instead of names. We don’t want the students to know who is getting what. We want to have that privacy for those students. So I will personally have the papers. Students can apply online. we will have their allergies if they have any in the system. Requests are due by Tuesday at 4 p.m. and pick-up is on Fridays.”
Jackson says she would like to see the program continue to grow.
"This is just the start, the beginning,” Jackson said. “Dr. Felton gave the original vision, but seeing that I will be in this space and helping the students, I don't want to stop here. I want to expand this space."
She says she would eventually like to expand the food pantry to help those across the city.
Wiley College is located in Harrison County, where one in five people struggle to pay for food.
“My personal vision would be that we would be able to help the community of Marshall,” Jackson said. “Marshall is lacking in a food pantry, so for us to start this on our campus, it is not only historic, it is very heartwarming."