The Eagle’s Nest Food Pantry now operates Monday from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. and from 11 a.m to 3 p.m. on Friday.
Interested students can use the pantry’s services by appointment on Wednesdays.
“It is important to us that all individuals at USM know that they are able to access services the USM Eagle’s Nest has to provide,” said Olivia Smail, head of public relation committee and graduate student of the School of Social Work. “We are trying our best to coordinate with the public of Hattiesburg to support the Pantry. We are receiving support from the campus administration, students and public of the Hattiesburg. We coordinated with Green House Yoga [Fill the Shelves! Restorative Yoga Practice] to support the pantry on Nov. 13, 2016.”
The Eagle’s Nest operates a grocery store-style pantry so individuals are able to take as much as they want of whatever is available.
The Student Association of Social Workers (SASW) started the food pantry on Oct. 12 in the basement of the Hub.The staff of the pantry aims to ensure that the students and faculty never go without food due to monetary struggles.
“The Eagle’s Nest [was] proud to serve more than 200 students and faculties within its first month,” said Eagle’s Nest manager Jennifer Martin. “The interest and positive feedbacks from the students and community encourages us to enhance the social service around the campus. We have planned to continue this program for long term including some breaks when the students will be around the campus each year.”
Smail said the pantry did not face many problems during its first month of opening.
“Everything went according to our expectations,” Smail said. “We faced some difficulty in getting things organized in efficient ways. We now need to keep our things organized with shelves filled with what we have collected. We have to keep our volunteer and community outreach incessant and serve more and more students.”
Martin said the staff always welcomes and supports students if they want to organize food collection campaigns.
“We are planning to collect foods according to the departments around the campus,” Martin said. “The students can refer the monetary aid to support the pantry. The most important of all is to advertise and let people know about our campaign.”
“I am surprised and very pleased with the community support we have received and are continuing to receive,” said social work graduate student Carlie Moon. “Since opening, the pantry has gotten many students who are interested in volunteering. The pantry has started off very well, and I am proud to be a part of it.”
Social work graduate Hannah Bagwell said her passion is to help those in need.
“It’s been very encouraging to play a role in the Eagle’s Nest success and to service the [food-insecure] population on campus,” Bagwell said. “The positive feedback on campus has been exciting, as so many student organizations have reached out to volunteer with us, and many of the individuals who utilize the pantry are volunteering with us as a sign of their appreciation. I want to welcome interested students to volunteer and support.”
To help fund the pantry, the School of Social Work has organized its first Cohort Challenge event. The challenge began Oct. 17 and will end Nov. 19. The student who collects the most weight in grocery donations will win a prize of $150 and a plaque with their name on it. The Eagle’s Nest has collected more than 800 pounds in grocery donations. The challenge concludes on Nov. 19. The winner of the SSW Cohort Challenge will be announced at 11th Annual Chili Cook-Off hosted by Sigma Phi Epsilon.
The Eagle’s nest continuously accepts donations of non-perishable items and monetary donations Items like dry foods, hygienic items and school supplies can be dropped off at the Eagle’s Nest located in the basement of the Hub or in the Fritzsche-Gibbs Hall 202D.The monetary aid can be done online via Extra Table, mail checks payable to the USM School of Social Work/Eagle’s Nest or www.feedms.com.