In response to the extraordinary financial challenges faced by college students, those in need of food and/or personal items will find a valuable resource in the FREE Mulerider Market, located in the Donald W. Reynolds Center on the campus of Southern Arkansas University.
Macye Plunk, SAU + VISTA Campus & Community Engagement Fellow, said students are welcome to come directly to the counter (located in Reynolds 107A, next to the post office) and pick out items or they can submit a package request using the form on the Mulerider Market web page, www.saumag.edu/mulerider-market.
Items can be picked up during operating hours. Students will receive an email notifying them when their package is ready for pickup.
According to Dr. Katherine Berry, SAU+VISTA Director, “Research tells us that many college students live in poverty and face persistent food shortages. When we realized the likely intersection of our high rate of Pell-eligible students and the current economic realities, we decided not to wait until Fall to open Mulerider Market.
“Our summer enrollments are holding strong, students live on campus and in Magnolia, and we had an idea-in-the-making to meet those needs now,” she said. “Trey and I are often asked in what small ways community members can connect with the needs of SAU students. Mulerider Market will be a wonderful way to make this connection in a very helpful, tangible way.”
Students picking up items from Mulerider Market must:
- Present a valid SAU ID;
- Pick up only one package per week, per student;
- Order a maximum of 15 items (of student’s choice) per package;
- Order a maximum of only five of the same item.
The Mulerider Market inventory includes canned vegetables, soup, fruit, Ramen Noodles, and cereal. Personal items include toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo and conditioner, body soap, feminine products, baby diapers and wipes, deodorant, and more. Inventory will vary throughout the year according to donations. Mulerider Market will accept donations at periodic times throughout the year. Anyone wishing to donate non-perishable items may do so during those occasions or may contact SAU at 870-235-4922. Please see the web page for a list of current needs.
SAU+VISTA is federally-funded through AmeriCorps. The SAU+VISTA mission is to increase college completion – a proven factor in the elimination of poverty. SAU currently hosts eight full-time SAU+VISTA Fellows and 24 Summer Associates. For more information, see www.saumag.edu/vista.