Student food pantry provides a safety net as COVID-19 pandemic continues

By Diane Smith

Food Insecurity Web

Food insecurity is an ongoing concern for many students and one that’s being addressed by the The University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth as the COVID-19 pandemic unfolds.

“Our students are here to do hard things, and hard things become increasingly more difficult when basic needs aren’t being met,” said Dr. Emily Mire, Director of Care and Civility. “We feel like we are called as a campus to serve others first, and a big part of that is fiercely taking care of our own.”

To meet that need, HSC created the Student Food Pantry in July 2016. It soon expanded to two sites, one in the Student Services Center and another on the fourth floor of Lewis Library.

The library site is no longer accessible because the library has been closed temporarily as a result of COVID-19 safety precautions. Dr. Mire said her team has a “Plan B” in place in case the pandemic forces the campus to close altogether.

“The students were emailed a flier with community resources, and this is also printed in the Food Pantry as well,” she said. “We have several community resources that are committed to combating food insecurity within Tarrant County.”

Dr. Mire said her team is ready to communicate quickly as the crisis unfolds.

A recent campus survey of HSC students indicated that 26% of respondents said they sometimes couldn’t afford to eat balanced meals, and 25% worried whether their food would run out before they had money to buy more.

Meanwhile, 18% of respondents ate less than they felt they should, cut the size of meals or skipped meals because there wasn’t enough money for more food.

The idea for the pantry came as the campus Care Team identified basic needs among students. It also grew out of an incident in which several students lost the most of their belongings in an apartment fire, Dr. Mire said.

“We watched our campus really step up to care for our students and saw the potential for us to turn this into a sustainable source of support,” she said.

In January, 224 pounds of food was provided to students through the Food Pantry, said Alex Fernandez, Student Services Associate.

“We don’t ask any questions,” he said, adding that popular items include canned soups, canned meat, breakfast foods and pasta.

Fernandez said graduate students are juggling a lot as the community grapples with the effects of coronavirus. Many have part-time jobs that could be impacted or have only limited funds.

“We want to be able to provide them with a safety net,” Fernandez said.

Until further notice, the Student Services Center Food Pantry is available Monday-Friday from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. An Amazon Donation Wish List for the pantry has also been created to help while many are practicing social distancing. All orders are shipped directly to the HSC campus. Please direct all questions to

Please call to check on hours of operation for these off-campus resources:

  • Tarrant Area Food Bank: 817-857-7100, 2600 Cullen St., Fort Worth.
  • Tarrant County Resource Connection, 817-531-7600, 1100 Circle Dr., Fort Worth.
  • Community Food Bank, 817-924-3333, 3000 Galvez, Ave., Fort Worth.

Recent News

Techstars Demo Day.
  • On Campus
|Dec 1, 2022

Techstars Demo Day brings innovation to the historic stockyards

For the last 13 weeks, the founders of 10 of the world’s most innovative startups have been in Fort Worth perfecting their new physical health technology. They are part of the world’s first physical health accelerator, and now they are ready to show the fruits of their labor. Techstars Demo D...
Dr. Sid O'bryant Award
  • Our People
|Dec 1, 2022

HSC named the winner of the D Magazines 2022 Achievement in Medical Research Award

The extensive research done by Dr. Sid O’Bryant and his team at the Institute of Translational Research has earned the University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth the 2022 Medical Research Award by D Magazine. Dr. O’Bryant, the executive director of the ITR and a professor at t...
Dr. John Licciardone
  • Our People
|Nov 30, 2022

Key study results from HSC’s PRECISION Pain Research Registry published in JAMA Network Open

The Journal of the American Medical Association – Network Open has published findings from a recent HSC study about chronic lower back pain, race and the patient-physician relationship. The study revealed that Black patients reported worse outcomes for low back pain intensity and back-related d...
Ram flyer
  • Community
|Nov 23, 2022

Free pop-up medical, vision and dental clinic is just a week away

  The University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth and Remote Area Medical – RAM® — a nonprofit provider of pop-up clinics that delivers free quality dental, vision and medical care to those in need — are bringing the free health care clinic to Dallas on Dec. 3 and 4....