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Sam’s Club helps UTEP students with $40,000 donation initiative

SalmaPaola Baca
Sam’s Club has donated $40,000 to the University of Texas at El Paso to help fight food insecurity.

There are many factors one may face when it comes to living your best as a student. To start, the focus of university is the academics you are seeking to learn and utilize later in your future efforts to obtain a full-time job. 

However, a student does not just deal with trying to learn and pass their classes, life just does not work like that for every student. Most students face many other obstacles outside of college that can make balancing life and school a little harder. 

Some students may be working and studying full time by the skin of their teeth. That is why it is very gratifying when universities and other large affiliates rush to the rescue to affiliate these daily stressors.

On Feb. 1, Sam’s Club, a large retail club store with almost 600 locations spread along the United States and Puerto Rico, donated a total of $40,000 to the University of Texas at El Paso. Specifically, $20,000 to the UTEP Food Pantry and $20,000 to the UTEP Career Center. These donations were provided to help fight food insecurity and ensure success among the student community for important events. Catie McCorry-Andalis, Ph.D., is the Associate Vice President and Dean of Students at UTEP and has been an influential figure in helping the UTEP community continue to thrive. Most importantly, being a major advocate for the UTEP Food Pantry.

“Over the years, we have tried to find partners in the community to support a number of efforts on campus,” Andalis said. “Food insecurity is one that is near and dear to our hearts, the number of students in college (and nationally) at our institution indicates that it’s quite high.” 

The COVID-19 pandemic, which started in the early months of 2020, seemed to worsen the food insecurity situation.  

“Pre-pandemic, all research showed that about 30 percent of students go through a university or college at some point along that continuum,” Andalis said. “Post pandemic, early indications show it is 60 percent or higher of students experiencing a lack of sustainable food and nourishment. If you do not have food, you cannot concentrate. Leading to an inability to stay in school, pursue your dreams and more.” 

Since the spawning of the Food Pantry and the ideology behind its main goal, the pantry has always been 100 percent based on donations and it continues to meet met as many students’ needs as possible. As the pantry continues to provide for students, the search for donors and volunteers also continues.  

Andalis says Sam’s Club was so impressed by the university and its warm community that it made a commitment to helping the UTEP Food Pantry and the university’s Career Closet. 

“They met with a number of students, and supported the dedication to the mobility of students to be able to go after their dreams and aspire to what they want to be in their life,” Andalis said. “Then they came back and wanted to help. This decision was also supported by the statistics shared of the team’s efforts with their Food Basket Program. 

The program initially started in late 2018 helping provide students with large baskets of basic consumable necessities from canned protein to pre-packaged food, with the bonus of a gift card towards local suppliers like grocery stores.. 

The program was a major success, and even more so with the aftermath of the pandemic. This past year, the program was able to issue about 1500 baskets with gift cards but would cost a considerable sum of money.

 This process also showed donors the success of the learning and business side of the program, which the donation toward the Career Closet came into fruition. 

“After doing much research, we thought the program would decline, but it’s not declining,” Andalis said. “It is increasing the needs for students, and they need the help. So, it is important work to do and a win-win.”

H. Catching Marginot is a contributor and may be reached at [email protected]   




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About the Contributors
H. Catching Marginot
H. Catching Marginot, Contributor/Writer
Henry Catching Marginot is a junior at the University of Texas at El Paso majoring in multimedia journalism and minoring in English: rhetorical studies. He is a contributor at The Prospector and freelances. He plans to pursue writing in the future.
SalmaPaola Baca
SalmaPaola Baca, Photographer
SalmaPaola Baca is a senior at UTEP majoring in engineering innovation and leadership with a concentration and minor in civil engineering and an emphasis in computer science. Her passion for photography enables her to be photographer at The Prospector. While a full-time student, she freelances while planning to grow her platform through travel photography. After graduating, she wants to pursue a master’s degree in architecture while working on her photography simultaneously.
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Sam’s Club helps UTEP students with $40,000 donation initiative