Amanda Nunez, program specialist in social services in the Aggie Cupboard. (NMSU photo by Josh Bachman)
As the clock ticks closer to the holidays, one service center at New Mexico State University (NMSU) wants to ensure it’s here to help those who may be struggling during this time, especially amid a pandemic.
NMSU’s Social Services at the Aggie Health and Wellness Center offers useful connections for students, faculty and staff who need assistance finding a range of resources, including basic needs such as food, shelter, health care and legal aid. Social Services staff provide information about local resources not just on campus, but out in the community.
“People might think they don’t necessarily need things like toiletries. But if they can save money on one thing so they can pay a bill, that’s what we’re here for,” said Amanda Nunez, programs specialist at NMSU Social Services. “We have information about connections to church resources in the community that can help with utilities, clothing and finding housing.”
NMSU’s Aggie Cupboard is a well-known resource for providing food assistance to the NMSU community, including students, faculty, and staff at the Las Cruces campus, Doña Ana County College and Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine. But food assistance isn’t the only help people can receive when contacting the program.
“Some people have the association that the Aggie Cupboard is just mainly for food, but we also get them connected to the resources outside of NMSU,” she said.
Even though the semester has already wrapped up and many students have gone home for the holidays, others remain in student housing or apartments in town, without family close by. NMSU social services wants those students to know they are not alone and encourages those in the community to give back in any way they can to help make these students feel more at home.
“Some students don’t have a warm jacket,” Nunez said. “We have a lot of international students, so that’s something the community can give back to.”
Nunez added she has an open-door policy and wants the NMSU community to know that they are always welcome to reach out when in need, even when distribution closes during the holidays.
“I don’t like to leave students stranded. I have students of my own and I know what it’s like. So, if I see someone email me and it’s an emergency, I’ll absolutely respond. I find that as my duty,” she said.
Aggie Cupboard’s distribution hours are on Tuesdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Wednesdays from 3 to 6 p.m. The pantry will close Dec. 23, 2021, and reopen to the NMSU community Jan. 4, 2022. For those who need immediate assistance, contact Amanda Nunez at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Author: Tatiana Favela – NMSU