Excerpts from the Winter 2022 issue of extension
Food insecurity in cities across the country has been well documented in recent years, and the Dayton area is no exception. This problem is especially visible on holidays when stories of community efforts to help those in need appear in car lines or crowds around volunteers at donation sites. Unfortunately, this is not just a seasonal problem, and it may come as a surprise to some to learn that food shortages are a concern that affects many people outside of our poorest societies, including college students.
Kathy Morris, WSURA coordinator for Raider Food Pantry, delivered two cars of food donated by board members at the December meeting. In addition to our food drive, WSURA has voted to donate $500 to the Raider Food Bank.
Wright State University has been tackling food insecurity since 2009 when it created what was then called the Friendship Food Pantry (FFP). Located in a small space in Allyn Hall and run by a dedicated group of volunteers, FFP has provided the basis for a vital support service to help students who lack the resources to cover basic nutritional needs with care and confidentiality. The program and its services, renamed Raider Food Pantry (RFP), are an extension of the Student Advocacy and Wellness Center (SAWC), an advocacy/case management service for students.
According to Tylar O’Neal-White, student advocate and case manager, the RFP is an important part of larger student service, because “students usually have needs outside of food, and SAWC can help meet those needs.”
Raider Food Pantry currently supports about 30 students per week and is open Tuesday and Wednesday 9am-4pm and Thursday 9am-4pm at 055 Student Union. In the spring of 2020, the RFP began a free lunch program, specifying microwaveable meals for students to eat as needed, no questions asked. O’Neal-White said more than 500 lunches have been provided, and the program has helped eliminate the stigma of accepting assistance from RFP. Helped with the overall process this year are two undergraduate social work students who earn internship credit for their efforts.
The WSURA Board of Directors have voted to provide continued support to the Raider Food Pantry through an annual financial contribution and by gathering the most needed items in stock at our meetings and events. Just as WSURA encourages member contributions to support scholarship initiatives, the organization also encourages members to contribute gifts to Raider Food Pantry.