HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - This is a news release from The University of Southern Mississippi.
In the true spirit of Thanksgiving, The University of Southern Mississippi recently received a generous donation of $5,000 to The Eagle's Nest – a student-run food pantry that offers basic essentials free of charge to University students and staff.
Mike and Amy Rozier of Rozier Construction Company made the contribution to The Eagle's Nest, which began operations last month under the supervision of The School of Social Work Student Association of Social Workers (SASW) at USM. Rozier Construction has offices in Hattiesburg and Greenwood.
"This donation provided a much-needed safety net for The Eagle's Nest so that we can continue to support our students and staff who are in need," said Jennifer Martin, social work graduate student and manager of the food pantry. "With the holidays in full swing, we have seen a heartwarming increase of support from the community and the University."
Located in the basement of The Hub on the Hattiesburg campus, The Eagle's Nest provides food, hygiene items and school supplies at no cost. Only a current Southern Miss identification card is needed to access the pantry.
Martin emphasizes that the increase in support is critical for the pantry's clients who "stock up" for campus holidays when the facility is closed. "This generous donation will help The Eagle's Nest provide resources and services for students and staff at an optimum level," said Martin.
Dr. Tamara Hurst, assistant professor and SASW adviser, notes that data from a first-time client survey indicates that approximately 60 percent of clients are international students. On average, the pantry sees 20 clients per day, but has assisted as many as 50 patrons in a single day.
"We have been astonished by how USM students and staff have embraced and utilized The Eagle's Nest food pantry," said Hurst. "Generally, our clients need help from time to time with food or other supplies to help make ends meet. Many of our clients work in addition to attending school. Unfortunately, their income is limited by the number of hours they can work, or by available hourly wages."
The pantry is supported by grants, monetary donations, and in-kind donations. Contributions to The Eagle's Nest can be made through local non-profit Extra Table here.