School is back in session at West Chester University and thousands of students are going about their day between classes and study sessions. They grab a quick bite between their classes and manage to get dinner at some point before the night is over. The life of a college student is busy, time management is crucial, and good nutrition is key to staying on top of it all. What happens when the resources for good nutrition don’t always align with the student? This is where the WCU Resource Pantry steps in to help.
Established in 2016, in conjunction with the WCU Financial Aid Office and the Chester County Food Bank to meet the need of students who were either food insecure or homeless at the time, the WCU Resource Pantry aids students by providing food, personal care items, and other necessities. Open to all undergraduate and graduate students regardless of need level, the pantry relies on the kindness of the community to support students' needs.
According to Dr. Rita Patel Eng, Director of the Center for Civic Engagement & Social Impact (CCESI) at WCU who helps to oversee the Pantry, “Community members make an impact by supporting students facing food insecurity and assisting with removing this barrier so that learning becomes the primary focus, and the lack of food and other essential needs are no longer an issue.”
The Resource Pantry is staffed by students known as RAM Ambassadors who are eligible to work on campus under the Federal Work-Study Program. The program is two-fold, allowing these students the opportunity to earn an income with an on-campus job, and at the same time providing them with service learning opportunities through their work, which then impacts the WCU Rams community overall.
How Can the Community Help?
According to Dr. Eng, “Charitable donations from community members and organizations are an integral part of the Pantry’s ability to support student needs. Community members can help us achieve our mission by making a financial donation, hosting a food/item drive, or by making an individual donation of needed items.”
The easiest way to help the Resource Pantry is through monetary donations. These donations allow the Resource Pantry to purchase the items they need the most when they need them. Donations can be made through the WCU Foundation’s website or sent via check to WCU Foundation, 202 Carter Drive, West Chester, PA 19380. Checks should be made out to WCU Foundation and in the memo line, add Resource Pantry #2966-904.
Food and Item Contributions
Item donations can be dropped off in person during the pantry’s hours of operation. Accepted items are listed on the Resource Pantry website as well as the operating hours.
Amazon Wish List
Items can also be purchased off the Amazon Wish List, which can be found on the Resource Pantry website. These items will be shipped directly to the Pantry.
Since its inception, the Resource Pantry has seen a steady increase in usage. Post-pandemic has seen a larger increase, with usage nearly doubling. This increase is expected to continue as living costs continue to escalate. Charitable contributions are the lifeline to the program.
For more information on the WCU Resource Pantry or to donate, visit their website at wcupa.edu/_services/civicEngagementSocialImpact/pantry/default.aspx.
Ways to Donate to the WCU Resource Pantry:
1: Financial Contributions
2. Food and Item Contributions
3: Amazon Wish List
More information about donations can be found on the Resource Pantry Website at wcupa.edu/_services/civicEngagementSocialImpact/pantry/default.aspx.