Scrappy's Cupboard was founded to address food insecurity among University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC) students. We provide emergency food assistance and referrals to all UTC students without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, sex, pregnancy, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, physical or mental disability, or covered veteran status. Scrappy's Cupboard is coordinated by the Office of the Dean of Students and run by faculty, staff, and student volunteers from the UTC community.
For a number of years, members of the UTC community were concerned about students struggling with food insecurity. Conversations about this concern were heard in classrooms and meetings throughout campus. In fall 2015, a committee was formed to examine the issue. The committee found that Chattanooga area food pantries can be difficult to access for students, often requiring a referral from registered social service agency or obtainment of a limited number of food "vouchers". The committee learned that due to strict eligibility requirements, many students were also not eligible for U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits (also known as Food Stamps). The committee conducted a campus needs assessment in spring 2016. Responses showed that 43% of students had experienced food insecurity and 54% had been aware of another student who was experiencing food insecurity. After benchmarking, the committee proposed the formation of a food pantry to Chancellor Angle. Chancellor Angle approved the formation of a food pantry in fall 2016. Scrappy’s Cupboard began operataion in fall 2017.
Campus Needs Assessment
Responses from students show that:
- 43% have experienced food insecurity. Of these students:
- 9% have experienced this once
- 8% have experienced it one to two times per semester
- 1% have experienced it three to four times per semester
- 5% have experienced it five or more times per semester
- 54% have been aware of another student who was experiencing food insecurity
Responses from faculty and staff show that:
- 37% have known of a student experiencing hunger
- 35% advise a club or organization of students who would be willing to volunteer to staff the pantry
- 66% would be or know their organization would be willing to donate to the pantry
- 54% agree that a student food pantry is needed at UTC
- 43% reported being unsure whether a food pantry is needed at UTC, which highlights the need for more information and education about the prevalence of food insecurity across the entire campus