Wayne State University in Detroit is opening a campus pantry to provide students in need with perishable and nonperishable goods, toiletries, women’s hygiene products and other supplies.
The pantry, dubbed "The W," is a collaborative effort led by the Office of the Provost and the Dean of Students Office, the university says. The research and initial work to create the pantry was made possible by a grant from the McGregor Fund to address the needs of homeless or otherwise vulnerable students.
“Wayne State’s goal for all of our students is success, and we strive to address all of the needs required to help them achieve it,” says Dean of Students David Strauss.
The pantry will be open Monday through Thursday from 4 to 8 p.m. and Sunday from 2 to 6 p.m. All students who are enrolled or making progress toward a degree are eligible to visit the pantry twice a month for up to two grocery bags of food and supplies. A third access will be granted based in emergencies.
“The pantry is meant to be a supplement so our students don’t have bare cupboards,” Strauss says. “We want to provide them with as much support and as many resources on campus as possible.”
In opening the pantry, Wayne State joins the other 447 other colleges and universities across the nation that have a food pantry.
In a recent study by the College and Universities Food Bank Alliance, the National Student Campaign Against Hunger and Homelessness, the Student Government Resource Center, and Student Public Interest Research Groups, 48 percent of surveyed students reported experiencing food insecurity.
The same study indicated that food insecurity — defined as a lack of secure and consistent access to nutritious, affordable food — caused some students to miss or drop classes.
“Food insecurity has a direct impact on academic success," said Rainesha Williams-Fox, a food pantry coordinator with the Dean of Students Office. "Many students are forced to choose between buying textbooks or buying food."
Williams-Fox will manage operations at The W, which will be staffed by volunteers.