Students are able to pick up a week's worth of food when they visit the food pantry on Western Illinois University's Macomb Campus. The food pantry is open every Thursday from 12:00 p.m. -5:00 p.m. this spring semester and will continue operating one day a week this summer with plans of expanding to two days a week this fall.
Dietetics Assistant Professor Emily Shupe helped get the food pantry up and running. She told Tri States Public Radio she frequently encounters students who are hungry to the point that she keeps food in her office for them.
She said 661 students replied to a survey sent out last year:
- 60% of the students who responded said they would utilize a food pantry on campus
- 45% of the students who responded said they were food insecure
- 20% of them said their grades had suffered due to lack of food
Shupe is also an advisor for the student organization Student Association for Nutrition Education (SANE). She said the group has done fundraising in the past for the Midwest Food Bank.
“We’ve always known there was a need throughout the area, but more and more we are seeing it throughout campus with the state of the economy that our state is in. Students are faced with more of the financial burden and have less resources for food.”
Shupe said the food pantry will be managed by the newly created student organization, the WIU Food Pantry.
“We have on our shirts, “Students Feeding Students” and that’s kind of our motto because students know the trouble, the trials, the hunger that other students are facing and we thought that make it a little easier for students to come to the pantry,” Shupe.
Shupe said students can remain anonymous when visiting the food pantry.
She said there are plenty of non-perishable healthy options available for students to pick up, but they’re also offering some college staples such as Mac and Cheese, Spaghettio’s, and Ramen.
Shupe said donations of food and money will help keep the pantry stocked.