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News | UAFS MailbagSeptember 29, 2023

UAFS Mailbag: Feeding Lions

Written By: Ian Silvester

Family Weekend (Oct. 6-7) is quickly approaching! With two volleyball games, a haunted 5k, a chili cookoff and tailgate, and our Fall Den Day all occurring within 24 hours, the campus will be flooded with more people than usual. This got me thinking about what we have that stands out despite being something lesser known. A bit of an oxymoron, I know, but the answer was glaring.

I didn’t have to look very far, but I had to look in the right place – on the side of the RAWC, to be exact.

Dave Stevens Lion Pride Pantry sign outside the RAWCI’m talking about the Dave Stevens Lion Pride Pantry. After starting as a donation box in 2019, the program has grown to become a food pantry available to all students, faculty, and staff, providing more than 1,200 bags of food since the fall of 2020. In the time since, more than 1,100 volunteer hours have been accumulated by Lions helping Lions.

As I dug into the Dave Stevens Lion Pride Pantry, I connected with RAWC director Meighan Pendergrass, who oversees the day-to-day functions and volunteers for the pantry. During our conversation, Pendergrass said it is rewarding to ensure students have everything they need to succeed.

“Food is just waiting for the students. They don’t have to do too much except to show up and get it,” she explained. “Food is fuel for our body, and if you don’t have food, you won’t be very successful.”

You might be asking yourself, why is it important that UAFS offers a food pantry? Well, the answer may come as a shock.

According to a 2019 study by Aspire Arkansas, the state ranked 50 out of 51 for food insecurity, and Sebastian County reported 18% of the population as food insecure. That percentage dropped to 16.6% by 2021 (Feeding America), but we still have a long way to go.

By having the Dave Stevens Lion Pride Pantry, Pendergrass said the university is “very in tune with what’s going on with our students.” After our conversation, I can say with certainty that UAFS cares about every student, faculty, and staff member.

I’m sure you’re thinking a few different things, like, “OK, but how can I use this service, when can I use this, what would I get, or how can I help?” Of course, I have all those answers.Inside the Dave Stevens Lion Pride Pantry

As I mentioned, anyone can use the Dave Stevens Lion Pride Pantry. It’s designed to help you get over the hump. If you don’t have a meal plan and are between paychecks, a food bag consists of jars of peanut butter and jelly, pasta, rice, soup, chili, ramen, canned meat, fruit, vegetables, and breakfast and snack items. The pantry is open Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., but anyone needing food can call the university police department 24/7 at 479-788-7140. Pendergrass also shared that the pantry provides Thanksgiving meal kits and holiday break boxes between the fall and spring semesters.

If you’d like to help your fellow Lions, Pendergrass said to email or organize a food drive with a registered student organization.

Until next time,


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  • Mailbag
  • Dave Stevens Lion Pride Pantry

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