CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. - A new food pantry is the first of its kind in Tennessee. It opened Wednesday in the heart of a college campus and it's serving only students.
College can be a stressful time with making new friends, making good grades, and making ends meet.
That experience is part of the reason why grad student Shannon Dosh and another social work student decided to start a food pantry right in the heart of the student life center.
"We had to start over and it's been difficult we couldn't both go to school and one of us had to work and the economy wasn't good. We were living off student loans and just there were months that we didn't have enough food ," Dosh said.
The pantry called "Save Our Students" will provide "emergency" nutrition and a place for students to go when they are stressed.
It's the first of its kind in Tennessee by giving anyone with an APSU student id a bag of food that will last three days.
"Once they've received their goods, we can put them in a plastic bag or they can put them in a book bag; that way no one ever has to see that they received services from us," said APSU graduate student kaytrena Shepherd.
"We are here to provide that extra something to help students make it through their four years, so that they can get a good degree, get a job, and support their families," said APSU Student Life Director, Alexandra Wills.
With hundreds of non-traditional students who have families, jobs, and children, this pantry can help them focus on classes and not where the next meal will come from.
"If you are up all night writing a paper for a course and you don't have any food for breakfast for your kids,, that is something that is going to be on your mind, and maybe keep you from obtaining your higher education dreams," said Wills.
All of the donations came from students and staff, and Dosh hopes that generosity will keep this pantry running long after they make the grade and graduate.
"I feel great about it, as a social worker that is what I live for, and as a person too that just helping my fellow human being is a good thing," said Dosh.
Students who receive help from the pantry, have to fill out a form that tells student life a little about their needs, whether it be baby food, gluten free food or even diapers.
If a student comes to the pantry a second time, they'll be paired with a social work grad student who can help them make a budget or put them in touch with other organizations in the Clarksville area.
"Save Our Students" is open Tuesdays 9a.m. to noon and Fridays noon to 4p.m. by appointment.