UT Outpost Accepting Donations and Volunteers For The Holiday
By Oihane Ochoa Navarro
Reporting Texas TV
AUSTIN, Texas – UT Outpost has a plan to help students in need stay well stocked for the holidays. In preparation for an anticipated increase in demand, the center has brought in some extra help.
UT Outpost is a free food pantry and career closet located on campus at 2609 University Ave. Operating under the Office of the Dean of Students, the Outpost is one of the emergency services UT offers students.
“There is no level of need or criteria that students need to meet. As long as you are a student, you can access it,” Outpost coordinator Valeria Martín said.
The Outpost offers essential items such as clothes, personal care products, and even baby products for students with children.
Students can visit the Outpost as many times as they need, but there is a monthly weight limit.
“We suggest that students aim for about 20 to 25 pounds each month, but they can divide it out however they like,” Martin explained.
The Outpost operates mainly on donations, but since the program is university affiliated it receives funding for things like food and personal care products.
“We make purchases for items that we don’t usually receive from donations, such as milk or yogurt,” Martin said.
Since the physical store opened in 2019, the number of students stopping by has gradually increased every year.
“It’s a combination of people knowing about us but also us having better resources to give out,” said Victoria Stuart, UT Outpost’s Student Leadership Board member.
She hopes more students will take advantage of the Outpost.
“I do think that people should be talking a little more about it. If the Outpost had more publicity around it, it would be great just because the service they provide is amazing for students,” Stuart said.
“For students, the best thing they can do is just talk about us, tell their friends that they shop there,” she said.
“The UT Outpost is really for everyone. Many students feel that they can’t come to the Outpost because they are not in enough need but that’s not a thing.”
With the holidays approaching, UT Outpost is accepting donations of all kinds for students who are unable to return home and will be coming to the store.
“The things we may need the most are small and medium sizes, both in feminine and masculine style clothing. For food, lately people want spam and tuna, ramen, snacks, and microwave meals,” she said.
The Outpost is expanding and has initiated a collaboration with Food Recovery, another university organization.
“We had a pretty large increase this year, but it is a good thing that students know that we exist. I don’t want students to need to come to the Outpost, but if they do, that’s okay,” Martin said.
“I do think that people should be talking a little more about it. If they had a little bit more publicity around it would be great just because the service they provide is amazing for students.”