UT Police Department officers have ditched their razors for the last six weeks to benefit the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s new on-campus pantry.
Through ‘No Shave November’ and ‘Double Down December,’ the department has raised $1,725 for the Big Orange Pantry. UTPD delivered the funds to the pantry Friday.
To participate, employees donated $20 in November and $50 in December. The events were open to all UTPD employees—men and women, commissioned officers and civilians. Thirty-five employees took part in the November challenge. Twenty employees are participating for December.
“It is great when we can foster camaraderie within the department around a worthy cause,” UTPD Assistant Chief Sean Patterson said. “The fact that this cause directly helps the community we serve is very special. Any time we can express support for our community and let them know we care is a win-win.”
The Big Orange Pantry provides emergency food assistance and other essentials for members of the university community. The pantry is open to students, faculty, and staff. It is located on the ground floor of Greve Hall in spaces formerly occupied by the UT Post Office and POD Market.
Since opening in November, the pantry has served more than 200 individuals, said Abigail Brumfield, interim assistant director in the Office of the Dean of Students, who helped coordinate the pantry’s launch.
Thanks to the use of refrigerators and freezers in the space that formerly housed the POD Market, the pantry can offer milk, cheese and fresh vegetables, in addition to canned goods, said Betsy Anderson Steeves, assistant professor in UT’s Department of Nutrition.
The pantry is in talks with the UT Culinary Institute, one of its partners, about hosting virtual cooking classes for food recipients, particularly students, so they are better equipped to prepare the fresh produce they receive, Anderson Steeves said.
In the spring, the pantry would like the community’s help with food drives for items like peanut butter and corn that are expensive to buy, Brumfield said. Additionally, the pantry needs can openers.
“We would also love to be able to offer hygiene products and baby products,” she said.
For more information on the Big Orange Pantry, its hours of operation and how to apply, visit its website.