by BRANDI ORTIZ//News Editor
A new resource at South Plains College could help students and faculty in need of emergency groceries.
The Food Pantry, located inside Room 101 in the PE Complex on the Levelland campus and in Building 8 at the Reese Center campus, contains some food stables such as cereal, peanut butter, rice, pasta, and canned items, along with hygiene items and baby items.
“Most everything we have is to help students through emergency-type situations,” said Dee Dee Odorizzi, director of the Physical Education Complex. “[The pantry has] mostly convenience food, ‘heat-and-eat’, not always nutritious, but we always try to keep some canned meat, chicken, tuna, some peanut butter, things that have a little bit of protein to provide.”
Odorizzi said the main reason for opening the new pantry was to assist students, faculty and staff members who may struggle to feed themselves or their families. According to Odorizzi, some students who stay on campus during the summer also have issues, since the dining hall closes during summer classes.
“We have students that live in the Smallwood Apartments that are either waiting for their paycheck to come in, or some of the international students, who are not able to have a job, struggle when the hall closes,” said Odorrizi. “Now that it is open, we have slowed down.”
Opening the panty has been a “group venture” since the beginning of the summer.
Katherine Perez, assistant dean of students, Dr. Lynn Cleavinger, director of Health and Wellness, Nate Feddes, residence hall director at Smallwood Apartments, and Odorizzi have been organizing throughout the summer to find a way to help students and faculty at SPC.
“I’ve always had a desire to help,” said Odorizzi. “It came to my attention several years ago, about students who aged out of the foster care system. At 18 years old, they are kicked out, told good luck to you and many of those students end up going to college because their room and board and tuition are paid for. They are not here because they are prepared to go to college. They are here because they don’t know where else to go. So, I kinda have a calling to try and help those students. And through conversation with Katherine Perez, it [the pantry] just kind of happened.”
Students or faculty who wish to utilize the food pantry on the Levelland campus can make an appointment with Odorizzi at (806) 716-2236. Reese Center’s food pantry is open Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Students do not need an ID to use the pantry but will fill out an intake form upon arrival.
“We are not here to provide people free groceries for an eternity,” said Odorizzi. “This is meant to be on emergency-type basis. If we see someone is coming to the pantry fairly regularly, then we might need to refer them to more permanent resources, get them on food stamps or try to help with employment or counseling. The need may go beyond the emergency pantry we have.”
The SPC Food Pantry is supplied through donations. To make a donation for the Levelland campus, contact Odorizzi or make a donation drop-off at the Dean of Students Office or PE Complex office, rooms 103 or 105. For the Reese Center, donations can go to Building 8 or call (806) 716-4615 or 716-4600.
“I want students to feel like they don’t have to be embarrassed to go ask for help,” Odorizzi said. “Any one of us are a paycheck away from needing help. If you are going hungry and you are living on nothing but Ramen noodles, you need to come see us. It does not have to be that way. We have plenty of donations, and we are more than happy to help. You can’t study or be successful in college if you are hungry.”