Texas State Religious Organizations Combat Student Food Insecurity, Offer Summer Mission Trips

Luke Applewhite


At Texas State University, the United Campus Ministry and Baptist Student Ministry have implemented initiatives to address student food insecurity as well as spiritual well-being. These efforts include providing meals and organizing mission trips.

Texas State University’s United Campus Ministry (UCM) provides free lunches for students every Monday at its location on 510 N. Guadalupe St. the Baptist Student Ministry (BSM) is preparing for a summer trip to Vancouver, Canada, scheduled from May 14 to May 22. The BSM is at 518 N. LBJ Drive., directly across the street from UCM.

United Campus Ministry (UCM)

According to the Food Security Learning Community (FSLC), nationwide, the percentage of students facing food insecurity threats could be as high as 48%, while at Texas State University, rates are lower, at 28%. Proactive efforts, such as those implemented by these religious organizations, may contribute to the lower food insecurity rates observed at Texas State. Additionally, the FSLC recommended the establishment of additional food pantries accessible to Texas State students.

The United Campus Ministry (UCM) at Texas State University aims to support students in their spiritual growth, fostering authentic relationships, and helping them discover their life’s purpose within a diverse religious landscape. Acknowledging the impact of food insecurity on students’ ability to engage with spiritual nourishment, Jamie Bouzard, UCM Pastor, discussed the challenges the ministry seeks to address.

“Hunger is not something a student should have to contend with while here at Texas State, so we try to do our part to keep it from happening,” Bouzard said. “It’s hard to remember that God loves you when you can’t think because you are too hungry, so we feed them.”

The United Campus Ministry provides a free meal every Monday at noon to over 50 students. Not only do students attend the free lunches, but Texas State faculty also participate.

Lairscey Griffin, an intern at the United Campus Ministry, understands the threat that food insecurity poses to some students and faculty. She recognizes it as a problem but knows that UCM combats this issue by offering a free lunch with no obligations or explanations required.

“Its just an opportunity for students to have a place to eat lunch with no questions asked,” Griffin said. “We don’t ever ask you to provide any sort of identification or reason for why you might the lunch.”

tist Student Ministry

The Baptist Student Ministry (BSM) aims to engage students in following Christ. While primarily Baptist, the ministry welcomes students of all denominations and backgrounds. For those interested in international missionary work, the BSM offers a summer program to Vancouver, Canada this summer, where students will assist local churches and participate in Canadian holiday celebrations. Katie Barnes, Associate Director, who has previous mission trip experience, provides insights into what the Canada trip will entail.

“When we do short term trips like this, the goal is to get people connected with the people who are hosting us and so we will be doing some canvassing and some outreach type things and so if an opportunity comes to share the gospel obviously we are prepared and ready for that,” Barnes said. 

Barnes emphasized why Texas State students should know about this trip. 

“We as Christians believe the Gospel really is for all people, and we believe that here, day to day, on the ground at Texas State we also believe that the Lord calls us to make disciples of all nations,” said Barnes. “It’s just a good opportunity. I mean, getting to travel in College is really special but getting to travel with purpose and to understand more about who God is and how he loves us and how he loves people all over the world, it can be really impactful for the students.” 

These two separate entities at Texas State share a common goal: nourishing students spiritually. The United Campus Ministry (UCM) provides students with a free meal, while the Baptist Student Ministry (BSM) offers summer programs. Conversely, both organizations also provide a free lunch (BSM’s free lunch is on Wednesday at noon) and summer programs, offering students multiple opportunities to grow in their faith and enjoy a free meal in various locations.

Furthermore, the UCM and BSM collaborate on initiatives to address broader student challenges. They work together to raise awareness about mental health issues. Through workshops, panels, and support groups, they create an environment for students to openly discuss mental health and access resources. This collaboration reflects their dedication to holistic student development and fostering a compassionate campus community.

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