By J.K. Schmid, AFRO Baltimore Staff
Morgan State University’s new Food Resource Center is reporting great success, as the season of giving continues.
“We started with bare shelves, and now, they’re packed with stuff,” Dr. Stacey Patton told the AFRO.
Patton is an award-winning journalist and professor in the Morgan School of Global Journalism and Communication.
As the 2008 recession lingers, hunger has become a campus-wide and national issue among colleges, Patton said.
“I had expressed a need over a year ago, when I came to Morgan,” Patton said. “I’ve been at Morgan for a little over three years now, but when I first came, I started noticing this hunger issue and I was always keeping snacks in my office.”
Patton took her concern to the Morgan VP of Student Affairs and the university’s social worker.
Planning began last Summer, Patton says, and the food drive started earlier this December. The drive generated 10,000 pounds of non-perishable foods. Each Morgan school has its own part to contribute to bags of peanut butter, jelly, rice, beans and other nutrition.
Food and donations are also coming in from across the country.
“I had a lot of my Facebook friends, I have about 60,000 followers on Facebook,” Patton said. “I put out an announcement that we were doing this. And a lot of folks ordered stuff on Amazon Pantry and had stuff sent to my office. So that was a lot of fun, getting all of these boxes, food and all kinds of things. So it was really cool.”
Morgan State is situated in one of Baltimore’s food deserts and suffers the consequences in much the same way as the community at large.
“We’re in our infancy but we really don’t want to have our students have to go off campus to other places to get food when they can get some help right here,” Patton said.
If the initial successes continue, Patton aims to make food resources available to faculty, staff and workers at Morgan State and to expand the program as part of the university’s Morgan Community Mile project taking a place alongside other operations like Morgan’s Solar Panel Initiative and Community Policing Project.
Prior to the Food Resource Center, Patton was raising and continues to raise money for Morgan student’s textbooks.
“I had folks who fed me, so as a professor, I want to teach as I was taught, but also nurture, as I was nurtured,” said Patton, who was a foster kid.
The Food Resource Center is scheduled for a new distribution on January 4.