Waco, Tx (FOX44) – The Baylor University food pantry, known as “The Store” was set to mark its reopening with a ribbon cutting Wednesday.

The on campus food pantry is located on the first floor of the Paul L. Foster Success Center in the Sid Richardson Building at 1410 South 3rd Street in Waco.

Background information provided by the university said food insecurity work began at Baylor in the Fall of 2016 with the formation of the Food Insecurity Working Group and the first Free Farmer’s Market. The on campus food pantry called The Store opened in Spring of 2018 with its first full-time staff member added in Fall 2022

In its new incarnation, the first floor of the Foster Success Center hosts more than The Store, but provides other services for students with high financial needs.

Upcoming resources from Baylor’s Student Opportunity & Achievement Resources team include a SNAP application assistance program and the reopening of The Closet later this year.

So far this semester, The Store has served 623 different students. Busiest day this semester saw 150 students come through the doors.

Information released by Baylor indicated that college students in the U.S. are 3-to-4 times more likely to be experiencing food insecurity than at any other time in their lives, with some four-year colleges experiencing up to 30% of their student body reporting experiencing some or other form of food insecurity while they are at college.

It was noted that food insecurity affects a student’s physical health, mental health and sense of belonging on campus – all of which have an impact on their academic performance, involvement on campus and potentially completing their courses on time. Institutions that provide basic needs support to students who need it tend to have higher retention and graduation rates for this population of students.

“Beyond that, care for our students and supporting them when they’re experiencing this kind of difficulty is part of our Christian commitment to our neighbor/family, and we are honored by the generous support and commitment of the entire Baylor Family to make sure there is a place for every Bear at the table,” said Lauren da Silva, program manager, Student Food Insecurity & Basic Needs, Student Opportunity & Accessibility Resources at Baylor.