Members of Fairmont State University's chapter of Psi Chi, an International Honor Society in Psychology, have set out to improve their fellow classmates’ wellbeing through a project titled “Falcons Fight Food Insecurity.”
With the help of faculty advisors Dr. Zach Moore and Dr. Nina Slota, Psi Chi officers were recently able to secure support for the project in the form of a $750 grant from Psi Chi’s Grants Committee and Board of Directors. The funds will be used to stock food and hygiene items for Freddie’s Pantry, a donation center that was unveiled on campus earlier this fall.
“Students in our region are particularly susceptible to food insecurity,” said Fairmont State University President, Mirta M. Martin. “Our mission at Fairmont State is to help every student soar – Falcons can’t do that when they’re unsure about their next meals. The Falcons Fight Food Insecurity project seeks to directly mitigate food insecurity on our campus, and helps our students keep their focus on achieving their goals. I am so grateful for the members of Fairmont State’s Psi Chi chapter, and proud of this compassion-driven initiative.”
Psi Chi student president, Shelby Helmick, said the idea to address food insecurity among the student population at Fairmont State stems from a popular psychological model of human potential: Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.
“Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs specifies that having access to basic necessities such as food, safety and shelter enables an individual to switch from a focus on just surviving to a focus on improving mental health,” explained Helmick. “By stocking food items and sanitary products in Freddie’s Pantry, the Fairmont State Psi Chi Chapter is able to support the local community by helping inconvenienced individuals meet their basic need for food thereby allowing them to focus on higher-level needs that can support mental health.”
Helmick said the campus community can expect Freddie’s Pantry to be regularly stocked with non-perishable food items and sanitary products like shampoo and deodorant beginning in the Spring 2022 semester. In addition, Psi Chi plans to run an awareness campaign to help decrease the stigma surrounding food pantry usage so that the Falcon Family can fully benefit from the initiative.
“The campus community will benefit from this project in many ways,” said Helmick. “Those who are experiencing monetary hardships will be given greater access to basic necessities and food products, while the local community will have increased awareness of the prevalence of food insecurity in West Virginia and of the health benefits one receives when their physiological needs are met.”
Those who wish to contribute to the mission of Freddie’s Pantry can do so by visiting www.fairmontstate.edu/freddiespantry.