Bobcat Bounty staff is currently looking to gain permanent space on campus for its food distributions, and Student Government is pushing for the spot to be in LBJ Student Center.
Bobcat Bounty is a student-run, on-campus food pantry for students at Texas State. Student Government officials and the Vice President of Student Affairs met with the LBJ Student Center Director Jack Rahmann to bring Bobcat Bounty to one of the new spaces in LBJ.
In 2017, the Hays County Food Bank partnered with Bobcat Bounty to provide students with nutritious, non-perishable items. Weekly distributions from Bobcat Bounty are on campus 5-7 p.m. every Thursday in the Family and Consumer Sciences building, room 180.
“Student Government is in the works with Bobcat Bounty to get it a bigger platform so they can maximize their efforts with students they are serving,” Student Government Vice President Tucker Thompson said.
Texas State nutrition and foods program dietetic interns analyzed food insecurity on the Texas State campus. The research indicated about 41% of students were food insecure or have been before. Bobcat Bounty, which works to battle food insecurity on campus, was founded spring 2018. The organization started with only 25 clients but over the past year and a half, has gained up to 170 clients a week.
Bobcat Bounty graduate assistant Kelsey Walling said she is grateful Student Government is such a huge advocate. A permanent space would increase the reach of Bobcat Bounty to the whole campus.
“Student Government is a strong advocate of Bobcat Bounty, and we are more than thankful for their hard work to help our food pantry thrive,” Walling said. “An initiative like this would greatly increase the reach of Bobcat Bounty to individuals all across campus and further provide more resources to those in need.”
Students must adhere to one of three guidelines to take advantage of food distributions at Texas State and the Hays County Food Bank: have a household income below the federal poverty level, participate in federal assistance programs or have a temporary food emergency from a natural disaster.
The Hays County Food Bank staff takes into account financial aid as income but Bobcat Bounty does not, making most students qualified for the program.
Walling said the goal of Bobcat Bounty is to serve students in need so they are able to succeed in all aspects of their lives.
“Our overall goal is to provide students in need with an adequate amount of food so they are able to succeed physically, mentally and academically,” Walling said. “Many students are not able to work and financial aid does not cover basic expenses. We just want to be able to provide resources for their success.”
Student Government members met with Dorsey and are making a task force specifically for finding Bobcat Bounty a permanent space. The task force will consist of 10-12 members, making decisions about Bobcat Bounty in the student center.
Thompson said after a few meetings, Student Government will have a better vision of what the Bobcat Bounty space will look like.
Executive Director of Hays County Food Bank Eleanor Owen said there are various opportunities for students to acquire food if they are unable to go to Bobcat Bounty.
“If going to Bobcat Bounty once a week is not enough, (Hays County Food Bank) has four other distributions (a week) students can come to in San Marcos,” Owen said. “At our distributions, we have resource assistants to help students with rent assistance, counseling or whatever it may be.”
Decisions for if—or when—Bobcat Bounty will be permanently moved to a space in LBJ will depend on the construction process of the student center and decisions made by the task force.