Campus News

Cougar Cupboard reopens, TDECU donates $20,000

The Cougar Cupboard helps students battle food insecurity and their new location allows them to help on a wider scale. | Raphael Fernandez/The Cougar

In preparation for the Cougar Cupboard’s grand re-opening this past Friday, TDECU donated over $20,000 to help provide additional materials to the pantry and lessen food insecurity on campus.

The funding comes as part of TDECU’s continued support for the University and its $20 million partnership.

“With the funding that we have here, I can say about half the food that we’ve purchased is because of that funding,” said Cougar Cupboard program manager Jessica Haney.

The grand re-opening allowed students to tour the new location and familiarize themselves with it. Students attended different booths to be entered in a giveaway and enjoyed refreshments. 

Part of the celebration, senior executive chef Chad McDonald demonstrated how to make overnight oats using ingredients from the cupboard.

“We’ve done a few different teaching kitchens now with the Cougar Cupboard,” McDonald said. “In the same essence, we wanted to get the word out there about the Cougar Cupboard and then also let the students know that here are the ingredients and this is how it comes together.”

The support for the new cupboard has been nothing but positive, according to Haney.

“I feel like there’s such a communal feel,” Haney said. “Everyone’s here to celebrate this project that I’ve been leading for four years so it’s really special.”

The cupboard’s new location is connected to the University Lofts and opened in early April after starting construction last October. It is nearly three times the size of the old location.

The pantry’s new location is nearly three times bigger than the previous location at the Rec Center. | Raphael Fernandez/The Cougar

The cupboard was originally located in the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center but closed last July when the Rec started its phases of construction.

At the original location, students could visit the pantry unlimited times throughout the week as long as they stayed under the 30 limit. The new cupboard only allows one visit per week but will still follow the 30 pound limit, and will be open throughout most of the week.

With new hours of operation, Cougar Cupboard volunteer and biology senior Abigail Napitupulu is looking forward to no longer being outside in the heat for distribution days the most.

“Not everybody can be there on Friday and they end up missing the opportunity of getting free food,” Napitupulu said. “Having it on campus and having it open multiple times throughout the week is really helpful for them and I’m very excited about that.”

Students must sign up before getting resources from the cupboard, but all UH students are eligible.

“I’m excited to see how it improves but also I’m excited to see students’ reactions to it if they haven’t already been in,” Haney said.

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