The University of Tennessee Health Science Center’s Campus Cupboard received a $1,400 donation in supplies from initiated members of the Alcorn State University Delta Epsilon chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. during their recent Reunion Service Day in Memphis.
Initiated members of the Delta Epsilon chapter from across the country raised $1,400 to donate food and toiletries to the campus cupboard and became the first Greek-letter organization to stock the pantry. Approximately 128 members gathered in Memphis to participate in fellowship and service for their reunion. Allison Norman, a second-year PhD student in the UTHSC College of Graduate Health Sciences Biomedical Sciences program, and an initiated member of the chapter, was one of the organizers of the service event.
The UTHSC Campus Cupboard acts as an agency of the Mid-South Food Bank, providing toiletry, food, and food preparation education to the university community for those in need of accessing balanced meals for themselves and their families.
Norman was informed of the campus cupboard by other UTHSC students and proposed donating to the cupboard as the chapter’s service event to support the resource that directly affects students.
“We donated so that when people transition to graduate school, whether they’re international students or coming from out of state, and don’t have family here to help them like the support system I have with the chapter, that we are able to help them get a good start if they do fall on hard times,” Norman said.
“Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated is founded on sisterhood and service, so what we stand for is giving back to our community,” she said. “To be able to help students who don’t have as much as we have, and with COVID going on this is a really hard time for all students, even those of us who have been here our entire lives or have a support system here.”
Knowing the increasing concern of food insecurity at universities, the campus cupboard supplies food and personal hygiene items to students, employees, and their families. The pantry also gives access to recipe samples and cooking instruction in partnership with the Culinary Medicine program in the UTHSC College of Medicine.
“To be able to donate and directly help students’ transition or where they are now, was very monumental for us,” Norman said. “And to see families and students who have children that visit there for food and supplies, it was just really touching for us to be able to directly impact the campus community.”
Jess Guthrie, MFA, assistant director of community engagement in the office of Student Affairs and Community Engagement, said it was a delight to work with the chapter and receive their donation.
“I was expecting maybe a couple of boxes, but they dropped off three or four carloads of supplies. It was a real gift out of the blue, and couldn’t have come at a better time, since the Mid-South Food Bank has been low on supplies recently.” Guthrie said. “They were so cheerful and bubbly, it was like I had been invited to a party at the pantry. It was touching to realize that they had done so much to benefit people they didn’t know and would likely never meet.”
The campus cupboard is located at 220 S. Dudley Street and is open on Tuesdays from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., and Fridays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. To donate, visit the campus cupboard during its hours of operation, or email Jess Guthrie at email@example.com for an appointment.
For more information on how to give food or monetary donations as well as volunteer opportunities, visit uthsc.edu/sace/campus-cupboard/donations.php.