Established on campus in 2017, the General’s Store is the on-site client-choice pantry for students, staff, and faculty to receive food assistance when needed. With both discretion and respect in mind, students can shop fresh fruits, vegetables, canned goods, grains, milk, and even baby food sourced weekly from the San Antonio Food Bank. The donated food products students receive help ensure that they and their families will not go hungry that semester.
Dr. Edwin Blanton, Executive Director of the Mays Center for Experiential Learning & Community Engagement at Texas A&M San Antonio, says that the relationship the university has with the Food Bank is essential for the welfare of their students. “A student that is hungry is not a student who can learn. For students to be successful, we have to take care of some of those basic needs… and one of those is hunger,” he said.
General’s Store student volunteer, Martin Calderon, has found his experience operating the student-run pantry a really rewarding eye-opening experience as well as a great way to help out his fellow Jaguars. “The number of people I have seen utilize the food pantry really puts things into perspective of how many people actually do need help in our community. The students love it, they think it is a blessing to have something like it on campus,” he said.
Students work hard to go to college to achieve stability and upward mobility. They should not have to worry about facing food insecurity. By offering resources to ensure that students have full stomachs, Texas A&M San Antonio hopes those students can be more successful in the classroom and in their careers post-graduation.