A little help to reach a goal
Student of the Week: Natalie Salinas
“When it comes to food - it is a necessity. I am more relaxed knowing that I can focus on what I need to focus on, because every situation is temporary. Anything that any student is going through is temporary. What is important is that they just keep persevering and focusing on their end goals.”
South Texas College Criminal Justice major Natalie Salinas says she wants students to know that reaching out for help isn’t a sign of weakness, but can be a step toward continuing their educational goals.
Salinas, a student from the Mid-Valley campus, says the STC food pantry has helped her tremendously as she works to receive her degree. She wants other students to never feel ashamed or connect themselves to a stigma when seeking assistance.
"It can give you peace of mind again so you can be able to keep on moving forward," Salinas said. "And that's the key motive - moving forward."
Food insecurity is a real issue for college students nationwide, with some studies reporting that 38% of community college students are facing “limited or uncertain access to adequate food.”
The STC food pantry’s sole purpose remains to supply food to the students and families who need it most. The initiative gives students the opportunity to receive a college education and have food in their refrigerator, without sacrificing one for the other.
Salinas said the visit doesn't take her more than 15 minutes, and that she finds a way to use every item offered at the pantry, like using frozen packs of shredded pork to make barbecue sandwiches and tacos.
"I work with everything they give," Salinas said. "When you're hungry, you're hungry. And with the rising prices in food, I've been able to make things work by being creative. You just need to season it, work with it. And that's what I do. It's about being creative."
Salinas said she also appreciates the helpfulness of the Student Food Pantry staff.
"Every time I go there, they are on time and organized," Salinas said. "They're very inviting and if you have any questions, they're more than happy to answer anything."
Salinas said she intends to take the U.S. Border Patrol exam after completing her degree.
"I have talked to the agents, and they let me know that I'll be able to take the test," Salinas said. "But situations happen in life, so in case I don’t go into Border Patrol I will definitely still be able to pursue law enforcement. It's all about opening your mind and knowing that there are opportunities.”
Salinas said she's grateful for STC, not only for preparing her for her future career, but for the student services that are offered.
"When it comes to food - it's a necessity,” Salinas said. “I'm more relaxed knowing that I can focus on what I need to focus on, because every situation is temporary. Anything that any student is going through is temporary. What's important is that they just keep persevering and focusing on their end goals."
For more information about the food pantry program, visit https://life.southtexascollege.edu/food-pantry/.