CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Heading into the colder months, the food pantry at Austin Peay State University is stocked with protein. A 1,000 lb angus steer was donated by Austin Peay's department of agriculture.
"This is by far the largest food donation we have ever received," Alexandra Wills said.
Wills started the food pantry eight years ago in the wake of the recession. It was the first food pantry on a college campus in Tennessee.
The Save Our Students Pantry feeds roughly 600 students and their families. In one week, the pantry is visited by 20 to 200 students.
"A lot of students don't have that luxury to go to a grocery store and pick out their food with their own money," Maddie McGalliard said. McGalliard is with AmeriCorps VISTA. She manages the day-to-day at the S.O.S. Pantry.
McGalliard said not only is the full cow a substantial donation, the different cuts of meat are expanding palettes.
"People are like 'what is this? What can I do with beef liver?' So we'll look up some recipes. It's fun to get people out of their comfort zone and try some healthy stuff," she said.
The pantry has always tried to keep ample fresh food on hand. There is a garden behind the pantry on campus. The director said they also have chickens that lay fresh eggs.
"If we have students who are just eating canned beans and ramen noodles, it's not filling them up and it's not giving them the power they need to learn," Wills said.
The donated meat is going quickly. The pantry hopes when the greater-community sees the impact it's making, they too will pay it forward.