Way too often, people get caught up in the imagery of HBCUs instead of truly understanding their purpose.
The homecoming tailgates, parties, and halftime shows are fun, but at the heart of these institutions lies a culture and community that’s provided an educational system and safe space for black students for over 180 years.
And at this moment, Bowie State University is giving us a reminder.
The HBCU tucked away in Prince George’s County, Maryland, has opened a free food pantry for students in need. After receiving a $10,000 grant from Food Lion, the school decided to expand its food pantry that will include non-perishable items and fresh produce several times a week.
“When we talked about this concept with Food Lion we really wanted to attack the stigma and breakdown the stigma of people feeling like they didn’t want to come and get food because of the thought that there is something wrong with suffering from food insecurity,” Brent Swinton, Bowie State’s Vice President for Institutional Advancement told WJLA.
“That’s a growing trend across the country and colleges are attacking that and Bowie State University is at the cutting edge. So we want people to feel welcome, to come in and realize that this is all about making sure nutrition is available so our students can achieve in the classroom.”
The pantry is opened Monday-Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and is located on the ground floor of the Thurgood Marshall Library. Bowie State is currently accepting monetary donations and is looking for non-perishable food and personal care items such as: Rice/rice mixes, Ravioli, Dry noodles, Oatmeal/hot cereal mixes, Granola bars, Dried fruits, Canned vegetables/fruits, Canned beans, Canned tuna, Feminine hygiene products, Shampoo/conditioner, Hand soap, Detergent, Razors/shaving cream, Deodorant, and Toothpaste/toothbrush.