Thanks to recent donations, there’s reliable and ongoing support for a free supplemental food program on Winona State University’s campus.
This school year, the Warrior Cupboard received an abundance of support from various donations allowing it to not only be sustainable, but to also pursue initiatives like helping students plan out specific meals. The free on-campus resource for WSU students provides food and essential goods and is currently aiding more than 80 students through difficult times during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Financial support given during the pandemic include the first installment of an annual donation of $3,000 by the WSU Student Senate, an anonymous match to the Student Senate’s amount, recurring payments from private donors, and donations from several bargaining units on campus.
The support is making a difference.
Noelke said due to the pandemic, many part-time jobs available to students are providing fewer hours or have been put entirely on pause. The heightened financial instability for college students has led to an increased risk of food insecurity.
A lot of students at the beginning of the semester (are) trying to figure out how to afford their books… and will forgo purchasing the material they need to be successful in their classes. The Warrior Cupboard is there to lighten students’ food expenses so they can afford the supplies they need to prepare for and succeed in the classroom.
While the majority of the food available in the Warrior Cupboard are shelf-stable items such as canned soup and pasta with limited perishable items, a new program is in the midst.
With all the support the food shelf has received, Noelke is occasionally able to buy specific ingredients and provide a recipe so that students have the materials they need to make a healthy meal. The goal of this new program is to coordinate with students to find out their favorite meals to eat out and provide an alternative, cost-efficient way to make the meal at home.
Located in the Integrated Wellness Center in room 130, the Warrior Cupboard is open during the same hours as the IWC. To access the space all students have to do is email email@example.com with their request. Once the student’s information is in the system, they just have to swipe a card to enter the room and grab what food is needed.
Since the Warrior Cupboard is designed to be a supplemental source of food, if students need more support the Winona Volunteer Services offers another food shelf in the community that students can use in conjunction with the Warrior Cupboard.
Another, more intensive, option for students struggling with food insecurity is the Minnesota Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Many college students are eligible for SNAP, a state-funded program that provides an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card that approved candidates can use, like a debit card, to purchase food from the store. To find out more about applying for SNAP you can contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Minnesota Department of Human Services website.