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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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12th Can fights hunger on campus during uncertain times

12th+Can
via The 12th Can Facebook page
12th Can

Amid a global pandemic, 12th Can has remained committed to the mission of eradicating food insecurity at Texas A&M University.
The on-campus food pantry opened for the first time since Spring Break on April 1 and 2 with increased security measures to keep both clients and staff safe. Despite some changes in procedures, 12th Can served A&M students, faculty and staff members a wide selection of nutritious foods. Organizers said they plan to open the food bank on four more dates in April. They stressed their food supplies are satisfactory and encouraged anyone who wanted to help to direct donations to the Brazos Valley Food Bank.
12th Can typically operates by allowing clients to walk into the pantry and fill their own bags, but the threat of exposure to the coronavirus made them rethink their process, said Michael Collum, 12th Can executive director.
“We chose to do a drive-thru and walk up system so our clients can maintain proper social distancing, limit contact with other people or the volunteers, but are still able to get around 35 pounds of food,” Collum said.
The prepackaged bags contain dry beans, rice, pasta, canned fruits and vegetables, canned meat and shelf-stable milk, ensuring clients received enough food to create nutritionally complete meals, said Collum.
Despite closing early on the second day of operations due to inclement weather, 12th Can served upward of 150 people over two days, Collum said.
“It went even better than expected,” Collum said. “Just our ability to serve the most people in as short an amount of time as possible.”
There is always a spike in service during the first 30 minutes of operations, and 12th Can volunteers successfully served over 50 clients during the period of increased activity, Collum added.
12th Can is financially stable and does not yet need donations from the public to remain active, Collum noted. He suggested potential donors instead turn their attention to the Brazos Valley Food Bank.
“We are taking monetary or food donations,” said Ebony Knight, Brazos Valley Food Bank distribution manager.
Knight added that monetary donations can be made either on the BVFB website or via the mail, and food donations can be delivered in person at BVFB in Bryan. To prevent any possible exposure to COVID-19, donors are told to remain in their vehicles and a team will remove the donations for them.
12th Can will be open for two more two-day periods in April, though operations during the summer semester are still up in the air, Collum said.
“We wish we could be open more, but because of the process of ordering food from the Brazos Valley Food Bank that is the most frequent we can be open with the current size of our pantry,” Collum said.
They always want to be open during the summer, and if the virus persists then they plan to continue operating using their current social distancing guidelines, Collum added.
Any student, faculty or staff member at Texas A&M that meets income guidelines or is experiencing an emergency financial situation can use the pantry. The next opening will be April 15 and 16, according to the 12th Can website.
For more information on 12th Can food pantry visit the12thcan.org. To donate to Brazos Valley Food Bank, visit bvfb.org.

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