Izzy’s Food Pantry Celebrates Five Years of Serving the Islander Community

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi is celebrating the five-year anniversary of Izzy’s Food Pantry, which has provided nearly 87,000 no-cost meals to students since its inception in fall 2017. All Islander students – regardless of socio-economic background – are allowed to visit the pantry weekly to supplement their shelves with nutritious food and other goods. Additionally, the pantry hosts monthly grocery giveaways featuring fresh produce, breads, and other special treats.

Many of the students who have utilized the services of Izzy’s Pantry say that access to nutritious food has not only fueled their education but has also made a huge difference in their lives.

“Initially, I didn’t have to worry about where my next meal would come from, but in recent years since my parents divorced, it’s been hard for me,” said Narita Ramirez ‘22, a TAMU-CC environmental science major. “Money is always tight, so I survive off scholarships and Izzy’s Food Pantry.”

Recent studies have shown that as many as 30% of college students across the nation struggle with food insecurity, which is defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as a lack of consistent access to enough food to live an active, healthy lifestyle.

“I’m super thankful that Izzy’s Food Pantry provides fresh foods and non-perishables for students because food insecurity is real,” said Ramirez. “I don’t feel ashamed walking in there because they make me feel welcome.”

Stanley Uzoigwe ‘23, an economics major, said he is impressed by the variety of healthy foods available at Izzy’s Food Pantry.

“At the grocery giveaway, you are greeted with an abundance of color. From the red peppers to the green limes, you see these fresh, vibrant colors,” Uzoigwe said. “It gives students a chance to achieve a healthy diet and gives them enough food to experiment with and have fun.”

What started as a 100-square-foot pantry stocked with donations from faculty and staff five years ago has since tripled in size. Where students used to be limited to 10 items a week, has now grown to 15 items a week. The pantry also has had strong community support. In addition, to support from the Coastal Bend Food Bank, corporate sponsors for Izzy’s Food Pantry include H-E-B and Whataburger. Support for Izzy’s Food Pantry is also provided by grants from the Coastal Bend Community Foundation.

“Over the years, we have been incredibly fortunate to receive grants from numerous community partners. Our faculty, staff, and student organizations have also provided yearly support through generous donations,” said Dr. Lisa O. Perez, TAMU-CC Assistant Vice President of Student Support and Dean of Students. “The help we receive goes a long way to ensure that our students are having the most basic of needs met. We know there are students that need this service for a multitude of reasons, and I’m so proud that we have created this judgment-free space for our Islanders.”

Ashley Seesengood ’23, a psychology major and student worker at Izzy’s Food Pantry, said she is thankful for the resources available to her at the Island University.

“I have personally used the pantry, and it really helped me when I was in need,” Seesengood said. “Now that I work for Izzy’s Food Pantry, I’m able to give back to the campus community alongside the staff that works hard every day to make sure that all Islanders have a positive experience when they visit us.”

Perez said that Izzy’s Food Pantry would remain the central hub for food insecurity programming for years to come, and they hope to grow the program through additional grants and other funding opportunities.

For information about Izzy’s Food Pantry or to learn how you can help students fight food insecurity, visit tamucc.edu/food-pantry or call 361-825-FOOD (3663).