University attempts to ease financial burden on students

New food pantry on campus exceeds expectations first semester, looks forward to the future



Aubry Reed, a senior, adds candy bars to the selection of food at Campus Harvest, the new food pantry at UW-Eau Claire.

Story by Katy Macek, Currents Editor

As finals draw near, Campus Harvest Food Pantry closes in on its first semester at UW-Eau Claire, and it has been a successful one, the operations intern at the food pantry said.

Aubry Reed, a senior organizational communications and business administration double major and member of Alpha Phi Omega, said she heard about Campus Harvest through her service fraternity and decided to apply for the internship position after hearing about it at one of the founding meetings.

Campus Harvest is a free-to-students food pantry located in the basement of Schofield Hall. It is run by the Office of Student Affairs, and students can volunteer to work there.

Reed said they expected maybe 15 students per week to use the food pantry, but they easily get more than that.

“When we first started, we weren’t really sure how many people were actually going to be using the pantry,” she said. “It’s really gone above and beyond what we expected.”

She said she estimates around 30 students a week use the food pantry, and organizations both on and off campus organize food drives to bring in items. They also receive cash donations, which they can use to buy food from Feed My People Food Bank, which sells items at greatly reduced prices.

“I wasn’t so sure at the beginning,” she said. “Now that I’ve seen how many people are using it and also how many people are willing to donate food and help us out, I’m for sure that it’s going to continue for a really long time.”

Ben Orlikowski, a senior sociology major, said he heard about Campus Harvest through emails and flyers. He decided to become a student volunteer to help others and also receive service-learning hours.

He said it is a good resource for students to have on campus because poverty is an unfortunate aspect of every community, and this is a way to help alleviate food costs for any students who need it. There is no requirement except bringing a valid student I.D. and filling out a short form.

“Unfortunately in our community at UW-Eau Claire, there are people who do their best to make ends meet but at the end of the day still have a hard time putting food on the table,” he said.  “Campus Harvest hopes to make their lives and their family’s lives a little bit easier by offering a free source of food for any student who needs it.”

Since he started in October, Orlikowski said he has noticed an increase in the number of students who use the pantry, which led him to believe that they are getting the word out on campus and students are realizing the value of this resource.

Julie Carr, executive staff assistant at the Office of Student Affairs, is the administrator supervisor at Campus Harvest, meaning she oversees the operations of the pantry.

Carr said she believes the food pantry is a good investment for the campus because it gives back to students and helps them pursue their educational goals despite financial insecurities they may have.

“If a student doesn’t have enough food to eat, they are not going to perform well in their classes,” she said. “They are taking classes in hopes of graduating and getting a good job so they can support themselves.”

Carr said there are currently 100 students registered to Campus Harvest and she foresees things staying consistent into next semester, hopefully drawing more students.

“I’m glad students with food insecurity are coming and taking advantage of this resource,” she said. “We are happy to be here for our students in need.”