A valuable resource for those in need of food and essential items such as toiletries and hygiene products is available to members of The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) Gulf Park Campus community in Long Beach.
The Gulf Park Pantry, located in Hardy Hall, is operated by the USM Gulf Park Office of Student Affairs. USM Gulf Park students and members of its faculty and staff are eligible for items available at the pantry.
USM Gulf Park Student Affairs Coordinator Jessica Langston said the pantry has a variety of shelf-stable items, including breakfast bars and cereal, pasta and sauce, canned soups and vegetables, rice, and dried and canned beans, among other items. Personal hygiene items and paper products are also available, as well as a limited amount of housewares and baby formula for customers with an expressed need.
Elizabeth Hand, a graduate assistant in the Office of Student Affairs, is excited to be a part of an initiative which addresses food insecurity on campus and says the pantry is another way to help students succeed at USM.
The facility currently distributes pre-packaged food supplies through its office in Hardy Hall 242. Food supplies can be requested via an online request form that allows individuals to make a request, schedule pickup, and provide information about family size, special requests, and allergy concerns. For more information about pickups, individuals are encouraged to email Elizabeth at firstname.lastname@example.org
“We aim to include a one-week supply of food in our prepared packages,” Langston said. “We ask recipients about their family size and age of children so we can customize bags to their specific needs. They can request items such as baby formula, housewares, diapers, toddler snacks, and provide alerts about dietary restrictions.”
Langston said the idea for a food pantry at the Gulf Park Campus has been discussed in recent years, but the need for more help increased with the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The pantry officially launched in late January 2021 and had immediate success with both donations to and participation from students wanting food packages. “To date, we have completed more than 90 pickups, and look forward to pushing our services out to students throughout the fall semester to expand our reach,” she further noted.
In addition to initial support from the Eagle’s Nest pantry on the Hattiesburg campus, the Gulf Park Pantry also received key boosts through the 2020 Golden Basket program and a partnership with Extra Table. The pantry also continues to benefit from donations from the campus community through virtual food drives and online shopping lists.
“We’re committed to growing and expanding our reach while also bolstering donations through our campus and community partnerships,” Langston said.
The Gulf Park Pantry welcomes donations to support its mission. Monetary and physical donations may be sent through campus mail to Langston or to:
The University of Southern Mississippi, Gulf Park Campus
Jessica Langston, Hardy Hall 238
730 East Beach Boulevard
Long Beach MS, 39560
The pantry also accepts donations of food and supplies in Hardy Hall 242, and through its Amazon and Walmart Wish Lists at the following links: