Auxiliary food pantry now open in library

Rose Black, left, with the Volpe Library, looks over some of the items in the auxiliary food pantry with Ann Manginelli, a public service librarian.

COOKEVILLE – From its humble origins in a closet in Foundation Hall, Tennessee Tech’s Food Pantry now has a second centralized location – the Volpe Library.

“Rose Black, from the library, contacted me about it back in September or October and said it had been on their hearts over there,” said Michelle Huddleston, assistant director of Tech’s Service Learning Center. “It’s a very central location that is open nights and weekends and extended hours.”

There have been a few instances where the library staff had to come together to help someone in need in that building, Huddleston said. That was when Black reached out to Huddleston to gauge the need for an auxiliary food pantry. The Food Pantry opened in 2012 in a closet in Foundation Hall. Now, the main location is in Tech Village.

“It’s for students and employees, including third party employees,” Huddleston said. “They can come once a week to grocery shop.”

With the auxiliary location, they were able to set it up like a regular shopping experience, so patrons come in and are given a basket and told how many items to shop for based on their household size.

“They sign up so that we know they are coming,” Huddleston said. “If they come in and have not signed up, we do that for them. This helps us track the amount of food going out each week.”

In 2012, the Food Pantry served five people a week and grew to 12 in 2015. Now, approximately 40 people are served per week, many who are returning visitors.

“We have helped single mothers get through college,” Huddleston said. “We have helped individual students who did not have meal plans. We have helped parents with kids who were just trying to finish their degree. Not having to choose between books or groceries makes a difference and is a bigger help than what we sometimes realize.”

The auxiliary Food Pantry is in room 209 behind the library’s front desk. During the holiday break, it’s open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday. During regular semester hours, the library is open seven days a week, with it being open until midnight five nights a week.

For more information about the Food Pantry, visit

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