Retired Roane State dean of students Brenda Rector cuts the ribbon on the new Raider Pantry at the college’s main campus in Harriman. From left are Roane State president Dr. Chris Whaley; Mid-East Community Action Agency Executive Director Jerry Johnson; Brenda Rector; Kristie Hopwood, agency relations and school pantry program coordinator with Second Harvest Food Bank; Kroger assistant store manager Fred Kleimola; and Kroger corporate affairs manager Melissa Eads.
Sept. 6, 2019
By Bob Fowler
Roane State staff writer
The new Raider Pantry is fully stocked and open for business, ready to provide everything from snacks to the makings of nutritious meals for Roane State Community College students and their families.
A ribbon-cutting in August formally opened the newest effort by the community college to address the vexing problem of food insecurity, which affects a staggering number of college students nationwide.
"At least 40 percent of students in higher education suffer from some form of food insecurity," Roane State President Dr. Chris Whaley said during the grand opening at the main campus in Harriman. "That's appalling."
The launch of the Raider Pantry in a small space just inside the Roane State gymnasium on the Roane County campus continues the college’s efforts to address food insecurity. Snacks are offered at campus locations, and three campuses (Roane, Oak Ridge, and Cumberland) offer dedicated rooms for food pantries.
Everything from granola bars to noodles, eggs, cheese crackers and an assortment of meats is available in the Roane County pantry to those in need free of charge. Fresh vegetables grown in a greenhouse on the college's campus in Harriman may also be available.
The pantry will also stock a limited amount of toiletry items and school supplies.
The Raider Pantry is staffed from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. on Thursdays. If there is a need on other days, students can email firstname.lastname@example.org and a pantry committee member will respond.
Dr. Whaley brainstormed the Raider Pantry about a year ago, said Brenda Rector, the college's recently retired dean of students, who was involved in planning the project.
The Raider Pantry is the result of partnerships between the college, the Roane State Foundation, the Kroger Co. Foundation, the Mid-East Community Action Agency and the Second Harvest Food Bank of Tennessee. A $1,000 gift from the Kroger Co. Foundation helped stock the pantry.
Similar food pantries are available on other Roane State campuses. Here's a rundown:
Cumberland County: The food pantry is available during business hours. Along with grab-and-go items, the pantry is stocked with Second Harvest foodstuffs along with such privately funded items as toiletries and school supplies. The campus is also an approved distribution center for USDA surplus food. Frozen meats and vegetables, along with canned meats and fruits and vegetables are available. Cereals, soups, peanut butter, diapers and school supplies are also stocked.
Knox County Center for Health Sciences: The food pantry is in the student lounge with grab-and-go items and is open when the campus is open. It's maintained and stocked with items donated by the campus staff and faculty.
Oak Ridge campus: BrainFood, located in the former Anderson's Grill in the Coffey/McNally Building, has no set hours but grab-and-go snacks are available two to three days each week as supplies last. Monthly distribution of Second Harvest food is planned for later this fall.
Scott County: The food pantry is located in the student lounge and is open when the campus is open. It is stocked with grab-and-go items from private funds.
Campbell County campus: Snacks are available for in the student lounge. Items are donated by local churches.
Due to space limitations, Fentress, Loudon and Morgan campuses do not have dedicated areas for snacks but provide occasional food items to students as needed.
The nonprofit Roane State Foundation accepts financial contributions for the college pantries. For information, call 865-882-4507.
Roane State is a two-year college providing transfer programs, career-preparation programs and continuing education. Founded in 1971, the college has campuses in Crossville, Harriman, Huntsville, Jamestown, Knoxville, LaFollette, Lenoir City, Oak Ridge, Wartburg and Clinton.
For more information, visit roanestate.edu or call (865) 882-4554.
Remember, eligible adults can now attend Roane State tuition-free with the new Reconnect grant. Learn more at www.roanestate.edu/reconnect.
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