WSU food pantries help thousands of students in need

WSU food pantries help thousands of students in need

Last week, the University of Washington announced it’s opening a permanent, on-campus food pantry. The school said it offers free, non-perishable food and even some produce, to current students.

But, did you know Washington State University has had two food pantries available for several years now?

According to the WSU Women’s Center, nearly half of college students are dealing with food insecurity. As a result, they created Rosario’s Place, a community-sourced food pantry so no student goes hungry.

“They run out of RDA, or they don’t get paid on time or it just gets towards the end of semester and they’re really running out of money,” said Jennifer Murray, program coordinator for the WSU Women’s Center.

Staff at the center said it’s a consistent story on campus – starving college students. At the surface, some find it funny – but they said, it’s not humorous at all.

“People laugh about living on Ramen without thinking about what that means, especially long-term,” Murray said.

They said when people joke about the issue, it creates a barrier for people in need to use services like the food pantry.

Which is why they do everything they can to make it as easy as possible for people to come in.

“Rosario’s Place has a separate entrance from the resource center, it has its own door,” Murray said.

The center said as long as their doors are open, students are welcome to come in and grab what they need.

The same hours go for the other food pantry on campus, organized by TRIO SSS, located in Lighty Student Services Building. TRIO SSS is an on-campus program that helps students with academic development.

“On two-hour shifts – I see about four students come in,” said Michelle Hermosura, student worker at TRIO SSS.

Multiply that by five, for a 10-hour day from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., which is when the pantry is open. That’s around 20 students. Now, multiply that by five for a week’s worth – and that’s about 100 students utilizing the food pantry every week.

“Basically, I tell them that they just grab a plastic bag or a box and they can take as much as they want. Everything in here, is all for them,” Hermosura said.

Both the TRIO food pantry and Rosario’s Place are available to any students in need. They can come in anytime during business hours and grab what they need – no questions asked. Whether it’s one meal, one day’s worth of groceries, or one week’s worth. They just ask that you sign out what you take so they can keep track for inventory purposes, but you don’t need to sign in.

Both food pantries are both fully stocked by donations from the community. They say they are always accepting donations, you can drop them off at their offices. They accept everything from non-perishable foods, paper products (napkins, tissues, toilet paper), hygiene products (razors, toothbrushes, feminine hygiene products, soap).

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