152: Solving Food Insecurity among College Students — Terrence Walker with Virginia Commonwealth University

Subtitle: A survey of VCU students found that 57 percent of respondents were not sure where they would get their next meal each day.

Terrence Walker is the administrative assistant at University Counselling Services for  Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). Terrence oversaw the creation of RamPantry, a food pantry to help feed students who are in poverty and who are food insecure. The pantry served more than 1,800 people in its first year of operation and continues to feed countless students. Terrence discusses some of the initial challenges he had when starting the program and why RamPantry first got started.

Key Takeaways:

[3:10] Believe it or not, there’s a high percentage of college students who are not sure when they will get their next meal.

[4:20] Terrence saw a problem and created RamPantry to help feed college students at VCU.

[10:00] How did Terrence first get started in volunteering?

[12:30] When putting together the RamPantry program, what kind of challenges did Terrence  run into?

[19:00] How did Terrence first find out that his students needed this service?

[24:15] Terrence had to set clear definitions of what hunger is to his students. There’s a big difference between preferences for certain foods and hunger because you literally have nothing.

[28:20] Everyone who helps manage this program are volunteers. Because of this, the recipients of this program and even the volunteers are performing better academically.

[31:30] Why and how are the volunteers benefiting from this?

[38:00] When people began gaming the system, how did the students react at first? VCU has since closed those loopholes.

[51:45] Both Rob and Terrence are around the same age. Men their age are currently struggling a lot with finding meaning in their lives. However, Terrence has found his purpose.

[59:40] RamPantry has received a number of awards for its service to the students.

[1:08:35] Since starting this program, a lot of doors have opened for Terrence and he’s finding new ways to help serve others.

[1:16:05] Success is about getting. Significance is about giving.

[1:23:45] Terrence has a real need to give, but he also understands that everything in life requires balance.

[1:29:50] What advice does Terrence have for those who would like to start their own giving back community project?

[1:40:30] Terrence received a lot of help and guidance from the College and University Food Bank Alliance.

[1:47:10] Terrence is also thankful that the faith-community was behind him and supporting the cause in the early days before the university was 100% on board.

[1:50:10] How would Terrence sum up his commitment to giving back?

Mentioned in This Episode:

Giving Back Podcast


Virginia Commonwealth University

Gov McAuliffe recognizes RamPantry coordinator Terrence Walker

College and University Food Bank Alliance





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