WSC Food Pantry helps students in need

Thanksgiving season sheds light on food insecurities

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WSC Food Pantry helps students in need

Linnea Vogel, Staff Writer

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Over a nondescript door to the basement of Morey Hall hangs a small, round canopy. Written across the black and gold awning are three simple words, WSC Food Pantry. Through the door and to the left is the entrance to the room that contains donated non-perishable food items. The room has wall to wall shelves, completely stocked with cans, boxes, and packages. A volunteer sits in the back corner of the room while students mull over which items they need most this week. The knowledge that the pantry will be open again soon gives them relief as they stock up on food to make it through the weekend.

The Wayne State College Food Pantry is a free service provided by the Office of Residence Life. Students enrolled at WSC can access the food pantry, whether they live on-campus or off-campus.

The WSC Food Pantry is open on Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Sundays from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

“As long as you have your student I.D. with you, you can go and get food,”  Amanda Jaixen, the WSC Food Pantry volunteer coordinator said. “It is unlimited, so you can take as much as you want or as little as you need.”

The WSC Food Pantry was established in 2017 by the previous director of Residence Life, Quinneka Lee.

“Director Lee had a passion for food insecurities with students, and she had worked a lot with it,” assistant director Kyle Greene said. “She saw that we didn’t have anything here. So, she put the food pantry together.”

Since the start of the pantry, the Office of Residence Life has partnered with other departments on campus to gather donations. A large portion of the food comes from the Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC). SAAC holds a yearly food drive, known as the trick or treat for cans, and gives all donations directly to the food pantry.

“It is fun when SAAC brings the cans and they realize how much they collected because all the teams will eventually meet together to talk about how much they raised together, “ Jaixen said. “ It is really cool seeing how they made a difference and they know that it is going somewhere close for someone who needs it. It not only impacts the students receiving the food, but also the athletes collecting the food.”

Getting the pantry up and running wasn’t the easiest, but the Office of Residence life has successfully created a space for the pantry and for storage.

“We had an unused area in Morey Hall’s basement, so we converted the room and added an inside door and an outside door,” Greene said. “We put the canopy up, and we were able to repurpose shelving in the room, as well. From the initial onset, it was just a room with a bad setup. The full room renovation was a huge success for the pantry.”

Once the pantry itself was functional, it was time to let the students on campus know.

“Since the beginning, we have struggled to get the word out to students on campus,” Jaixen said. “These last two years I have worked really hard to advertise, and we have seen a rise in the numbers.”

The need and impact of the food pantry has really shown, Jaixen said. Many times, students will tell her that they don’t know how they’re going to eat, and she will direct them to the food pantry.

“We have a lot of students that come in and they say it is super helpful,” Jaixen said. “We have had some moms come in because we have diapers and baby food, and they say ‘Wow, I really need this.’ Knowing that they can go home and have stuff for their kids makes me feel really glad.”

Even though the WSC Food Pantry is a small organization on campus, it does help a lot of people, Jaixen said.

She said she hopes the pantry can continue to grow so that students will never have to worry about not being able to eat at home, on the weekends, or on college breaks.

“I have used the food pantry and it was honestly the best thing available when I couldn’t afford groceries and I had already used all my meals on my meal plan for the week,” WSC student Shelby Butts said.

The food pantry always needs volunteers, Greene said. There is a process to volunteer and students who are interested should contact Jaixen, or visit the Office of Residence Life.

Greene said they hope to be able to keep the food pantry opened and staffed consistently in the future.

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