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Carson-Newman takes aim at food insecurity with pantry, career closet

Many college students have trouble affording food and professional clothing. "The Store" at Carson-Newman will provide food and clothes for free.
Credit: Carson-Newman University
Carson-Newman officials officially open the university's new food pantry and career closet, "The Store."

JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. — Over 40% of 4-year college students nationwide don't have enough affordable, nutritious food.

That's according to a 2019 survey by the Hope Center for College, Community and Justice. But Carson-Newman University is working to keep their students fed and clothed with a new food pantry and career closet.

It's called "The Store" -- a one-stop-shop for students who might not be able to afford food or professional clothing. 

RELATED: "We love them" | Teachers go viral, start food pantry to help feed students

Carson-Newman President Charles A. Fowler said the university is committed to positive change.

“I am so grateful to be a part of a community who not only sees a need and prays about a need, but through the empowerment of the Lord, meets a need,” Fowler said. “We are a community of difference-makers.”

University officials said the $10,000 renovations needed to begin The Store came through donations, grants and volunteer workers. 

Food pantries and professional clothing closets are becoming a reality at more schools. UT's "Smokey's Closet" also provides free clothes to the university's students. 

RELATED: Inside Smokey's Closet: UT helps students dress for success

School officials say the career closet will make a difference for students who want to begin their professional careers.