WKU Food Pantry helps students, faculty in need

As you drive or walk down Regents Avenue on the campus of Western Kentucky University, you’ll pass by several houses on either side of the street that look nothing more than just that – houses. 

A few do have signs out front, though, signifying that they’re WKU buildings, including the Office of Sustainability, located on 503 Regents Ave.

But if you take a step inside that particular house, you’ll find there’s more than meets the eye, and that includes a resource that’s being used to help out students and faculty members in need.

"The [WKU] food pantry is to ameliorate food insecurity on our campus," said Cara Walters, a student ambassador for the Office of Sustainability. "Basically we have a lot of students, faculty and staff that have problems with food insecurity. We’re just trying to help in any way that we can."

There’s no catch for those that do decide to use the pantry. WKU students, faculty and staff aren’t required to show any proof of need. All that’s required is that you show your WKU ID, as well as fill out a form upon your arrival.

"Any way that we can help them get through a month where they might be having a difficult time," Walters said. "If maybe rent has taken a priority over buying groceries, that’s completely understandable. If they need just a little help, or this is some way we can provide assistance to them."

Walters added that the students and faculty that do utilize this little known resource are so appreciative to have this pantry so readily available to them, especially in their times of need.

"So many people come in here every week and every month and they just thank us a lot," she said. "One man came in here [Wednesday] and he asked us if he was a burden to us. We just told him, ‘Absolutely not. Please, never think that.’ We kind of want to take the stigma away from the pantry."

Walters said their planning on setting up pop-up pantry events to not only fight that stigma or feeling of shame that some people feel when having to use a food pantry, but also to let students and faculty know that this resource exists and is available to them.

Despite the pantry not being completely well-known across campus, the pantry has become well stocked as of late thanks to donations from community members and the "Sustainability Champions," but with the holiday season rapidly approaching, keeping their shelves stocked is more important than ever.

"A lot of students stay over winter break," Walters said. "A lot of people go home, but a lot of international students stay here. A lot of students will stay as well. When they stay here, they don’t have a lot of resources other than the pantry."

If you’re willing to help out, the pantry will gladly accept any type of donation – from non-perishable to perishable food items, as well as toiletries.

If you’d like to donate, all you have to do is stop by the Office of Sustainability during the week and drop off your donation.

For more information about the WKU Food Pantry, please visit their website: https://www.wku.edu/sustainability/food_pantry.php