Lone Star College-University Park launches Leo’s Shelf, an on-site food pantry

leo's shelf lone star college university park food pantry
Leo's Shelf is LSC-University Park’s on-site food pantry designed to serve campus community members with free grab-and-go meals, snacks, nonperishable pantry items and personal hygiene products. (Courtesy Lone Star College-University Park)

Leo's Shelf is LSC-University Park’s on-site food pantry designed to serve campus community members with free grab-and-go meals, snacks, nonperishable pantry items and personal hygiene products. (Courtesy Lone Star College-University Park)

Lone Star College-University Park, located at 20515 Hwy. 249, Houston, announced the opening of Leo’s Shelf, an on-site food pantry, in a news release Jan. 21.

Created by the campuswide Food Insecurity Task Force, the food pantry is designed to serve campus community members with free grab-and-go meals, snacks, nonperishable pantry items and personal hygiene products, according to the release. The project will be managed by faculty and staff volunteers.

“At LSC-University Park, our students’ well being and their success are the highest priorities for administrators, faculty and staff,” LSC-UP President Shah Ardalan said in a statement. “Leo’s Shelf is another faculty-led initiative focused on removing barriers such as food insecurity for our students.”

The initiative is an attempt to tackle food insecurity among students, as an estimated 48% of community college students and 41% of university students are considered food-insecure, according to a 2019 national survey and report from Hope Center for College, Community and Justice. Food insecurity is defined as a lack of reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food.

The report identifies food insecurity as a common source of stress across college campuses nationwide and also suggests food insecurity can be linked to lower graduation rates.

To stock Leo’s Shelf, LSC-UP’s Student Learning Resource Center established a “Food for Fines” initiative in December, meaning students could donate nonperishable pantry items in lieu of overdue library fines, the release states. Additionally, the college hosted a “Leo’s Shelf Sculpture Competition” in which students, faculty and staff were charged with creating sculptures out of canned food and personal hygiene products.

“We understand that food insecurity is a real issue and Leo’s Shelf is an acknowledgement of the problem,” said Cassandra Khatri, political science professor and campus coordinator of the Office of Civic Engagement, in a statement. “I am so grateful to LCS-University Park administration and the campus community for their support, time and donations, which allowed us to open with a stocked pantry.”

For more information about Leo’s Shelf, visit room B13.210B or email up-leosshelf@lonestar.edu.
By Hannah Zedaker

Born and raised in Cypress, Texas, Hannah Zedaker graduated from Sam Houston State University in 2016 with a bachelor's degree in mass communication and a minor in political science. She began as an intern with Community Impact Newspaper in 2015 and was hired upon graduation as a reporter for The Woodlands edition in May 2016. In January 2019, she was promoted to serve as the editor of the Spring/Klein edition where she covers Spring ISD and Harris County Commissioners Court, in addition to business, development and transportation news.


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