Wesley Foundation provides resources, community for students

In an effort to support the well-being of students at Lamar University (LU), the Wesley Foundation provides two vital resources to LU students: the Cardinal Pantry and the Cardinal Closet. These initiatives, aimed at addressing food insecurity and clothing needs among LU students, serve as a beacon of support and solidarity within the university community. 

Cardinal Pantry“It started with a partnership of St. Mark's Episcopal Church, and there is also a professor here on campus named Dr. Paul Howell, and he's been doing something called snack packs, which is packing bags of snack food for students to have for the weekend because a lot of places are closed down,” Pastor Kyle Tremblay said. “He's been doing that since about 2011, and so he was doing that a long time. He saw the need for a pantry, a more permanent sort of thing. He reached out to the Wesley pastor at the time, and it was born from there.” 

Operated by the Wesley Foundation, a campus ministry organization, the Cardinal Pantry and Cardinal Closet are open Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.,  providing accessible assistance to students facing financial challenges. Located behind the Brooks Shivers Dining Hall and the Baptist Student Ministry building on LU’s campus, these resources offer a diverse range of essential items to alleviate the burdens faced by students struggling to make ends meet.

Since Pastor Tremblay’s tenure at the Wesley the Cardinal Food Pantry has gone from an average of 150 students receiving help, to over 400.   

“I've been here since spring of last year, and we have put a big emphasis on growing it, and just letting more and more students know about it, be able to have access to it, and us have more food so that we are able to give out more things as well,” Pastor Tremblay said.   Cardinal Pantry Students

Similarly, the Cardinal Closet addresses the clothing needs of LU students, offering a selection of new and gently used clothing items at no cost. From professional attire for job interviews to everyday essentials, the closet provides students with access to clothing that empowers them to navigate both academic and professional spheres. 

Moreover, the Wesley Foundation goes beyond providing material assistance by fostering a sense of community and collaboration through its outreach efforts. In partnership with other LU organizations, the foundation hosts classes and workshops aimed at enhancing students' personal and professional development. 

“One of our big goals is that yes, we are the Wesley Foundation, but it's not just for us. We really want to partner with different groups,” Pastor Tremblay said. “We call ourselves a student center here, and so we emphasize that you can come for the pantry, you can come and grab coffee and hang out, just to study, just to do whatever. We try to approach it in a way that folks can feel like they're a part of something and not just a resource.”  

To learn more about the Wesley Foundation, visit https://www.thewesleyfoundation.com/