The Edmond Sun


December 9, 2013

UCO’s Central Pantry celebrates a year of service

EDMOND — Looking back over the last year, University of Central Oklahoma Volunteer and Service Learning Center Coordinator Eric Hemphill has one word to describe Central Pantry’s growth: “extraordinary.”

In its first month of operation, the pantry assisted just 24 people. In October the number had grown to 740.

The pantry, opened in November 2012, provides non-perishable food and hygiene items to any student, faculty or staff member who is in need. Central students, faculty and staff volunteers manage the pantry’s daily operations.

The Oklahoma State Department of Education’s Low Income Report for 2012-13 found that 26 percent of students in Edmond Public Schools qualify for free and reduced lunches. One in six Oklahomans suffers from food insecurity, a lack of access to enough food.      “We knew that food insecurity was a significant problem in our state, and the hope in opening Central Pantry was to potentially remove a barrier that members of our campus community might have to continuing their education,” Hemphill said.

“We stress that the pantry can and should be used for supplemental items. We’ve worked hard to remove the stigma that a food pantry is just for people who can’t afford groceries. They are also for people whose budgets might have them choose between, say, vegetables and ground beef. Central Pantry helps fill in those gaps.”

The Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, which distributes enough food to feed more than 90,000 hungry Oklahomans each week, helped the VSLC set up the pantry, adding its years of experience in serving the community to the outreach effort.

The pantry has received more than 50,000 pounds of donations since its opening, including donations from area Homeland Stores and from student, faculty and staff-led food drives. A new partnership with the Edmond YMCA may bring fresh vegetables to the pantry’s shelves in 2014 as part of the Y’s community garden initiative.

Brenda Chappell, assistant professor of sociology at Central, has supported the pantry since its inception. Chappell has organized food drives in her classrooms through Central’s Institute of Hope, a faculty-directed, student-run organization that educates the campus about issues of poverty.

“Over the years I have had several students who didn’t have enough food and I have taken them to local food banks,” Chappell said. “It makes me cringe to think about how many more were hungry that I didn’t know about.”

Since opening, the pantry has provided service-learning opportunities for the student volunteers who assist with donation management, inventory and client assistance. The volunteer shifts are typically one to two hours, and all volunteers undergo a mandatory training.               For those who wish to help, Hemphill notes that Central Pantry is perpetually in need of canned fruits, vegetables, beans and meats, as well as non-perishable items like peanut butter, jelly, hot and cold cereal, pasta, grains and boxed dinners. Hygiene items like shampoo, conditioner, bar soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant, feminine hygiene products and diapers are also accepted. Donations can be dropped off during the pantry’s operating hours, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday. It is    located in the Nigh University Center, Room 203.              

FOR MORE information or to see Central Pantry’s “Year in Review” report, visit Those interested in organizing a food drive or fundraiser should contact Hemphill at, or call the VSLC at 974-2621.

Text Only
  • OBU dance team celebrates National Dance Day

    In 2010, “So You Think You Can Dance” co-creator and Dizzy Feet Foundation co-president Nigel Lythgoe created National Dance Day in an effort to help people embrace dance and combat obesity on the last Saturday in July.
    This year, on July 26, Oklahoma Baptist University’s dance team will host a fundraiser that allows participants to dance all day for $30. The fundraiser will be in the Noble Complex on OBU’s campus.
    Cami Gower, an OBU junior and co-captain/co-founder of the dance team, said the team’s officers have been planning for their upcoming season since April. Gower is a graduate of Deer Creek High School.
    “Since then we have been coming up with better ways to reach the community with dance,” she said. “This day of dance was a great way to do it and help the team raise funds.”

    July 24, 2014

  • OCU alumna earns honor society fellowship

    Oklahoma City University alumna Neilee Wood was awarded a fellowship from the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi.

    July 21, 2014


    The Oklahoma Arts Institute is a private, nonprofit organization developed in 1977, with a mission to provide exceptional multidisciplinary arts experiences that develop individual talent and inspire a lifelong passion for the arts. OAI administers a program for talented Oklahoma youth every June and a series of continuing education workshops for adults every fall.
    Following are nine biographies of the 41 Edmond-area students who attended the prestigious Summer Arts Institute. The students worked with award-winning artists in nine areas of the literary, visual and performing arts. Biographies were published in each Tuesday MidWeek and Saturday Weekender edition of The Sun through July.

    July 21, 2014 3 Photos

  • North senior wins Edward C. Joullian III Scholarship

    Kassidy Gary, a senior from Edmond North High School, recently received the Oklahoma State Fair’s Edward C. Joullian III Scholarship. Gary’s accomplishment was recognized at the State Board of Education’s May meeting.

    July 21, 2014

  • Washington University in St. Louis names Dean’s List

    YuJing Wang of Edmond was named to the Dean’s List for the spring 2014 semester at Washington University in St. Louis.

    July 21, 2014

  • Missouri State releases spring 2014 graduation list

    Missouri State University conferred 2,381 degrees to students during its three spring commencement ceremonies May 16 at JQH Arena. Matthew D. Iver, received an Administrative Studies/Homeland Security MS degree.

    July 21, 2014

  • NSU names area student to President’s Honor Roll

    Northeastern State University has announced students named to the NSU president's honor roll for the spring 2014 semester.

    July 21, 2014

  • OSU sorority recognized at national convention

    Members of the Beta Zeta chapter of Kappa Alpha Theta at Oklahoma State University networked with counterparts and accepted two awards on behalf of the chapter before returning from the sorority's national convention in Orlando, Florida, earlier this month. The OSU chapter received the Silver Kite Award for Overall Chapter Excellence and the runner-up position for the Excellence in Recruitment Award.

    July 21, 2014

  • Choir UCO Concert Choral invited to perform at international music festival

    The University of Central Oklahoma Concert Choral will perform at the Fifth Annual Campina Grande International Music Festival in Brazil July 20-27. The UCO Concert Choral is one of only four university choirs invited to perform at this festival.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • UCO campus 3.jpg University of Central Oklahoma recognized as having friendly work environment

    The Chronicle of Higher Education named the University of Central Oklahoma as one of the “2014 Great Colleges to Work For.” Central is the only higher education institution in the state recognized on the list and one of only a handful of institutions in the nation given the distinction of being named to the Honor Roll for being cited most often among all the recognition categories.          
    Central joins Duke, Baylor and Notre Dame on the list of the 10 universities named to the large institution honor roll.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo