Food pantry provides


Ivy Steege

After asking a student how much their bag of food weighs, junior Autumn Walker writes the number down to keep track for the pantry.

Ivy Steege, Campus News Editor

Hidden behind the Drumlin Dining location of Erbert and Gerbert’s, is a resource looking to help Whitewater students. The Warhawk Pantry offers food, supplies, and even some clothing to students on this campus for free. The coordinator of the Warhawk Pantry Fabiola Aranda has been with the organization since its inception in March of 2018. 

“My main job is to oversee the day to day operations, making sure the open hours are covered, appointments are covered, or any monetary donations are deposited to our foundation account as well as organization of the physical donations and purchasing any food/toiletries through the food bank we partner with – Feeding America – or purchase items at a retail price through Sam’s Club,” says Aranda while also pointing out the amount of supporting the pantry needs. “We currently have two paid student assistants and we do get some volunteers to help out when we have large donations or purchases that we need to weigh and organize.” 

Junior Autumn Walker is one of the student pantry assistants. Though she was just hired this Spring she says her love for humanitarian work and the connections she makes with students are just some of the aspects she already loves about the job.  

“Unfortunately, a lot of students don’t have the means to pay for certain things, so I think that this is a really great resource. I know a lot of campuses didn’t have this, so I think it’s wonderful that students can have access to food, clothing, supplies for free and feel supported here,” says Walker.  

According to Feeding America, approximately 530,500 people in Wisconsin were food insecure meaning a household might lack access, at times, to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members and limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate foods. These statistics increase when looking at college campuses specifically. 

“Our mission is to market the pantry to all students,” says Aranda. “Yes, food insecurities are evident on campus and we wish to remove that barrier for students that way they strive and have a successful college experience, but we also want to remove the stigma that you have to be in dire need to utilize the pantry. The pantry offers food for individuals that may be in a pinch one week, or want to save time or money grocery shopping. We want to emphasize that we strive to provide a welcoming, respectful environment for the campus community to obtain food, toiletries, and school supplies.”

Along with helping food-insecure college students, food banks also help with food sustainability. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported that in 2010, the U.S. discarded around 31% of its food by weight, which includes 10% at retail locations and 21% in homes.

“Food pantries, in general, are a vital stopping point for many food items considered “past expiration” by grocery stores,” says Warhawk Pantry advisor and Sustainability Director Wesley Enterline. “Through our partnership with Feeding America, we are able to get these food items, including produce, bakery, and dairy items in addition to typical pantry staples and little to no cost. Many of these items, if not provided to a food bank, would end up in a landfill. Food waste that enters a landfill will decompose and generate methane gas, a powerful greenhouse gas far more potent than carbon dioxide. Food pantries are able to redistribute these food items before they enter a landfill and the items are still perfectly edible! By simply diverting this food to pantries rather than a landfill, the grocery stores and other providers can contribute to reducing environmental impact while supporting local communities. It is truly a great example of sustainability with multiple positive benefits.”

If you are wanting to stop by the Warhawk Pantry, its open hours are from 2-5 p.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. If these times do not work with your schedule, email [email protected] to schedule an appointment.

“We always like to highlight that we offer hygiene products like shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, toothbrushes, toothpaste, and miscellaneous cleaning products as well as school supplies. We also just started offering winter clothing and a limited amount of apparel! We also offer non-perishable items, snacks, and a limited amount of produce and frozen goods,” says Aranda. “I would like to stress for students and the campus community to spread the word about the Warhawk Pantry! Our biggest way to market is word of mouth and we just want to be able to reach more students to utilize the Warhawk Pantry!”

To help the Warhawk Pantry by scheduling a food drive or dropping off donations of donations of non perishable food, toiletries, and other items, such as school supplies either email [email protected] or drop donations off at the donation bins near the Information Services Desk or the Hawkcard Office in the University Center.