February 7, 2018- Texarkana, Texas– Texarkana College has expanded its food bank to become the TC Care Closet Initiative allowing the college to meet student needs in new ways. For students in need, the Care Closet offers toiletry and essential items as well as childcare items such as diapers, formula and baby food.
TC employees Katie Jewell, Coordinator of Testing and Student Support Services Advising, and Phillip Parrish, Success Coach Coordinator, opened the TC Food Bank in June of 2016.
“You have to meet people where they are,” said Jewell. “It’s hard for students to learn in class when they are worried about where their next meal will come from or if they will have diapers for their baby. If we can better meet students’ needs, then they are better able to concentrate on the task at hand.”
To help with the closet, TC Honors College students volunteer their time to set up and monitor donation boxes around campus. They also help organize the non-perishable food items and canned goods received weekly. The food bank not only provides canned goods for students to cook but also offers “college-friendly” lunch options for students like individually packaged tuna, ramen noodles and Chef Boyardee quick meals.
“We realize that our students are on-the-go most of the time,” said Parrish. “Most of them are working and going to school so we try to offer them food they can eat during their busy schedules.”
As a community college, TC serves students every day who are working hard to make ends meet. Some TC students often have many unmet needs and benefit from help through donations. In August of 2016, after a presentation about the need for the campus food bank at a back to school professional development session, TC faculty and staff began donating baby care items as well as food items. This has grown over the last year and a half to include personal hygiene items as well.
“For single moms or dads attending college, knowing they have access to a supply of diapers or wipes or food could mean eliminating a barrier that keeps them from attending class,” said Parrish. “No one is immune to hardships and challenges but it can make a world of difference to have someone around you who understands and is willing to help.”
Texarkana College values students and is striving to meet their needs while they are working on their certificate or degree. The mission statement of the Food Bank is “to alleviate the physical hunger of those in need while providing education to empower students to become effective, contributing adults and to achieve lifelong success.” TC will be able to alleviate many other needs now with the addition of the Care Closet Initiative.
Donations to the TC Care Closet are accepted at any of the donation boxes around campus or in the lobby of the Career Education Center located at the corner of College Drive and Coolidge Avenue on TC campus. Students may visit the Food Bank or Care Closet twice a month. For more information, or to make an appointment to visit the Food Bank or Care Closet, please contact Phillip Parrish by email email@example.com or by phone at 903-823-3418.