Food pantry opens larger space


Josh Drake

Brookhaven Campus President Linda Braddy gets scissors ready at ribbon cutting ceremony for the campus food pantry July 12.

Emma Gibson, Contributing Writer

The food pantry at Brookhaven has expanded and relocated to Room J104 on July 12. The larger space houses food, toiletries and baby items. The food pantry introduced Grab & Go snacks as well as a microwave where students, staff and faculty can drop in and enjoy a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or heat up a frozen burrito.

Audrey Ferraro, a student, said she saw the food pantry during her tour of the campus. She said, “I think it’s a good thing to have.”

Anyelit Falcon, a student, said, “I think it’s really great because I know that some people don’t have the necessary food.”

The original food pantry was smaller. Workers found themselves scrambling to make room for food and supplies.

Hurshel Burton, an English professor, who has donated to the food pantry before, said, “I think the new location is much better.”

Finding the time to move the pantry was not easy. Eileen Sahlstedt, program services coordinator for Dallas College, is helping run the Brookhaven food pantry. She said, “Sometimes finding the right kind of space and the space with the right size with everything that you need to accommodate the needs of the pantry can be difficult.”

Sahlstedt said there are already plans to expand the food pantry to add a clothing boutique. The Brookhaven campus would add a clothing closet similar to existing ones at other Dallas College campus locations.

Sahlstedt said the clothing boutique will have gently used clothing students in need of clothes can take, and includes business clothes for interviews.

The food pantry has expanded their partnership with the North Texas Food Bank. The pantry is always accepting items such as canned food and other non-perishable foods, baby items such as diapers and formula, toiletries and gently used clothing.

Sahlstedt also said, “We’re working on getting volunteers for the food pantry.” Students, staff and faculty who would like to donate their time can help with tasks such as restocking, organizing and taking inventory.

Sheri Van Court, an English for speakers of other languages professor, said her students help at the pantry for community service credit. Van Court said she and her Phi Theta Kappa students originally started the food pantry in 2009 after noticing students and staff experiencing food insecurity.

The food pantry is open 2-5 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Salstedt said she can refer people to off-campus emergency food resources if necessary when the pantry is closed. “However, I can refer students to off-campus emergency food resources if necessary,” she said.