Gulf Park Pantry Serves USM Students and Staff
Fri, 03/31/2023 - 08:55am | By: Gabriela Shinskie
Housed at the University of Southern Mississippi’s (USM) Gulf Park Campus in Long Beach, the Gulf Park Pantry is always looking for ways to distribute free food and hygiene products to USM students and staff who walk through its doors.
Kristen Chachati is a Graduate Assistant and works in the Office of Student Affairs on the Gulf Park Campus and helps run the Gulf Park Pantry. She said she is seeing an influx of students booking times to pick up their items at the pantry at the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory (GCRL) and Stennis Space Center because the selection is large. They have an average of 2-3 bookings per week where students can go and pick up bags of food and supplies, as well as 25-30 bookings per semester.
The pantry also sees USM students who use the pantry on a weekly and monthly basis. “During Christmas, we were very fortunate to receive multiple large donations, which was very helpful to our students. Since then, we have gone through a lot of those donations, and have a need for donations again,” said Chachati.
Some food donations needed regularly are canned meats, soup, fruit cups, oatmeal, and gluten free items. Some hygiene items needed regularly are toilet paper, toothpaste, toothbrushes, and laundry detergent.
Many students have been asking for peanut butter and cleaning products. With the price of basic household items increasing, the need is urgent. These items tend to run out quicker than others.
The pantry is being run almost entirely by Graduate Assistants. Evy Savoie is the Student Affairs Specialist at the Gulf Park Campus. Savoie said, “The scope of the pantry has been expanded to service all Coastal Operations students in need, including GCRL and Stennis. We send packaged bags through the internal courier for delivery to these other campuses. We have also spearheaded the Aunt Flow initiative through the pantry to provide free menstrual products to all students.”
Receiving items at the Gulf Park Pantry is simple. One must go online at the website and fill out a form. One can also handpick items from the Pantry and select “Pantry Open Hours”.
The need is essential. To donate to the Gulf Park Pantry, please visit their website for details.
For more information about the Gulf Park Pantry, call 228-214-3341 or email gulfparkpantryFREEMississippi.