Tessa Anderson

Tessa Anderson uses passion for hunger relief at Iowa State

By chance, Tessa found her passion for hunger relief on a mission trip to Mexico in high school.

“It wasn’t even the focus of the trip,” she said. “The focus was giving shoes. It was just one time we handed out meals to people.”

After the trip, Tessa and her mom realized the meals they gave were created by food scientists. Since Tessa was already planning to be a food science major at Iowa State University, this experience solidified her choice and narrowed her program choice even more.

Recently, Tessa learned one in three college kids fight food insecurity today. Between witnessing this issue in Mexico and realizing the problem exists closer to home than she thought, Tessa combats the matter by joining The SHOP (Students Helping Our Peers) food pantry.

The SHOP is a student-run, on-campus food pantry, located in 2616 Food Sciences Building. Hearing about The SHOP in her freshman year learning community, Tessa sent an email to one of The SHOP executive members and began volunteering. Now, Tessa is on the executive committee herself.

“I wanted to get involved so I could learn more, do more, and make a bigger impact,” she said.

Tessa said other students are able to get involved by contacting The SHOP volunteer coordinator or even making donations of their own. She also wants students who are struggling to afford food to know there are resources on campus.

“You don’t have to worry people will judge you,” she said. “The SHOP food pantry is anonymous. Take as much as you need. No questions asked.”

Tessa wants to raise awareness in her community about food insecurity and how college students can help.

“It’s such a basic need,” She said. “Life is surrounded by food. People can’t function without it. When you meet that basic need, you show people you care.”