As Thanksgiving approaches, donation requests increase

Cougar Food Pantry accepts food, cash; it will partner with Tom’s Turkey Drive



Student picks up a Cougar Food Pantry apple, Nov. 9.

JULIA MESSEGEE, Evergreen reporter

Thanksgiving vacation is approaching, and organizations like the Cougar Food Pantry are providing free meals for WSU students and Pullman Community members facing food insecurity.

Food insecurity refers to reduced food intake and a disruption of eating habits.

The pantry is located on the lower floor of the Compton Union Building.

“It is definitely becoming harder and harder for students to be able to meet their basic needs,” said Merri Lecoq, Cougar Food Pantry coordinator.

Taylor Johnson, senior education major, both works and has utilized the pantry in the past. She is a Cougar Food Pantry advisory board member.

Johnson said she has been coordinating with ASWSU during Senate bondings, an event in which the Cougar Food Pantry packs Thanksgiving boxes. However, the materials will not arrive in time for senate assistance, but the materials will arrive in time for Christmas.

She said the pantry has been immensely helpful and around 60 or 80 pounds of oranges were set in the pantry last Monday and were gone in less than a day.

Johnson said she joined the Center for Civic Engagement because she is a first-generation college student and experienced food insecurity herself.

She also said the Cougar Food Pantry was huge as she and her family received nutrition when they moved to Washington from Alabama.

She had a hard time growing up, and the pantry’s impact on other families and the community meant a lot to her, Johnson said.

Johnson said her time with the pantry started when the Center for Civic Engagement took over the pantry.

“We are putting our efforts into helping the students because we are here for the students, if we can’t help the students, why are we even existing?”Johnson said.

Lecoq said there are other pantries such as Pullman Child Welfare and the Community Action Center, both located in Pullman, and said Pullman Child Welfare requires proof of residency for service.

She said West Side Food Pantry is commonly used in Moscow.

The Cougar Food Pantry gladly accepts food or cash donations. While she does not know how much money was raised last year, whatever it was, she was sure they can do better this year, Lecoq said.

The community can help those struggling with food insecurity by donating food or money to the Cougar Food Pantry or other pantries in the area, she said.

If donating food, instant, canned and nonperishable foods are most appreciated, Lecoq said.

Johnson said the pantry will always take donations and receive help from community members.

There are student workers, volunteers and others who help the pantry flourish behind the scenes, she said.

The pantry is partnered with Tom’s Turkey Drive, which collects and distributes food for Thanksgiving meals every year. It is located in the parking lots of Rosauers, a grocery store in Moscow, according to KREM 2.

Food For Pullman is another food donation organization, run by Pullman resident Rob Larsen. The Thanksgiving Food Drive and Meal Giveaway, will occur from 1-5 p.m. on Nov. 23. Its location will be the Pullman City Hall Senior Center.

Individuals and businesses seeking involvement are encouraged to message Rob on Twitter, Reddit, or email [email protected], according to the Food For Pullman website.

If one is interested in signing up for a meal, they may use the link located on the site, above Larsen’s contact information.

Anyone, such as a student stuck in town over break, is welcome at Food For Pullman, according to the website.

Lecoq said it is important to remember everyone needs help sometimes, and stigma can sometimes hurt this ideal.

Taking that away from someone or not allowing equitable access to basic needs doesn’t teach anyone anything she said.

“Thanksgiving is a wonderful day … but people still do need to eat the rest of the days,” Lecoq said.