How to help
Scrappy’s Cupboard is currently accepting these donations:
- Canned fruit, vegetables and soups
- Dried pasta and pasta sauce
- Peanut butter
- Protein bars and protein drinks
- Can openers
- Personal care items-toilet paper, deodorant, shampoo and soap
- Monetary donations
For a full list of needs and how to donate to the cupboard, click here.
Hidden away in a corner of UTC’s University Center is a small room with walls of shelves stocked with pasta, cereal, applesauce and canned vegetables. There’s even a corner with baby formula, diapers and wipes.
It’s almost like a tiny convenience store. But this store is lacking in one traditional feature: a cash register.
These goods aren’t for sale. They’re part of Scrappy’s Cupboard, launched this fall in response to the needs of UTC students and the national fight against food insecurity.
“We find students in this position of having to choose: Do they pay for school or do they pay to eat? And if they paid for school already and they’re out of money or they lose their job or whatever it may be, what are they going to do to sustain themselves? What are they going to do to make sure they have food on the table so that they can achieve?” explains Associate Dean of Students Brett Fuchs.
“That’s really the intention of a food pantry here at UTC and at colleges and universities across the country. It’s to make sure students are taken care of, especially those students that are in need,” he says.
“Food insecurity” is the term used to describe millions of Americans who do not have access to nutritious meals. Food insecurity can happen just once or it can be a recurring problem.
Of the UTC students surveyed last year, 43 percent of those who responded said they had experienced food insecurity. Those numbers are just shy of the national average, according to a survey published in 2016 by the College and Food Bank Alliance.
The survey, Hunger on Campus: The Challenge of Food Insecurity for College Students, found that across college and university campuses big and small, no matter the region or demographic of students, 48 percent of students who responded had experienced food insecurity.
Scrappy’s Cupboard is looking for partners on campus and in the Chattanooga community. UTC faculty and staff are encouraged to volunteer to staff the Cupboard, but fundraising also will be necessary for it to thrive.
Local businesses also are welcome to partner with the Cupboard. Whether through fundraising, food drives or other creative initiatives. Visit Scrappy’s Cupboard for more information.
Accessibility and anonymity
For first-time users of Scrappy’s Cupboard, there’s a no-questions-asked approach when students stop in to grab a few necessities. The Cupboard operates under the assumption that each student knows their needs and shouldn’t be afraid to seek help when they need it.
Despite its centralized location, Scrappy’s Cupboard is discreet and maintains anonymity for students using it. The process for snagging some pantry staples is simple. Students are asked to fill out an online form that can be found on the Scrappy’s Cupboard website. With the form, students select a pick-up time that’s convenient for them.
Then all they have to do is show up to UTC’s University Center, Room 360, with a Mocs ID in hand. Someone will be there who can take the student back to Scrappy’s Cupboard.
Students are welcome to bring their own reusable bags or generic unmarked bags are provided.
Learn more about the initiative from the video below: