The Food Pantry began in 2014 as a course assignment for one of our advanced MSW courses. However, after the students conducted a short survey with their graduate and undergraduate peers, the need was real and in the summer of 2014 the Pantry was established in a small room. The Pantry started under the auspices of the Christian Service department, and it was solely run by social work student interns who were also volunteers.
In 2018, we conducted our first campus-wide survey, which highlighted the need for the Pantry. It was at that time that the oversight committee helped rename the Pantry, and Feed My Sheep Food Pantry was born. From our small location, we continued to serve a number of students.
During the 2018-2019 school year Feed My Sheep was transferred to the School of Social Work, with social work interns managing the day to day operations. Beginning March 2020, the food pantry served students by appointments only; the restrictions related to COVID-19 helped us look at the Pantry operations from a different perspective.
In January 2021 we began a strong partnership with the office of Humanitarian Engagement on campus. The Humanitarian Engagement office has established a monthly food drive to address food insecurities in our surrounding community. With new growth, a new location was needed, and we were able to move all programs addressing food insecurity on campus and community in suite 1500 in the Mini Mall. Once again, our name changed to reflect our overall service to the community in addressing food insecurity: Feed My Sheep Community Food Pantry. Our partnership has helped establish a relationship with the Chattanooga Food Bank, thus opening up possibilities for a larger variety of products and their availability for both community food distribution and pantry clients.
Currently, students, faculty and staff are encouraged to visit the pantry as often as it is needed – our community’s generosity is great in food donations.
“It is good to give thanks to the Lord, And to sing praises to Your name, O Most High; To declare Your lovingkindness in the morning, And Your faithfulness every night” (Psalm 92: 1-2)