WSU provides ‘one-stop-shop’ for students to pick up food

Pantry encourages monetary donations, food donations must be placed in 10-day isolation



Food donations to the WSU Office for Access and Opportunity food pantry wait to be packaged for students.

MADYSEN MCLAIN, Evergreen roots editor

Food pantries across WSU Pullman pooled their resources to provide one place for students to pick up food and hygiene supplies.

Anna Schilter, principal assistant to the Dean of Students, said the Office of the Dean of Students has given out 42 bags of food to students since March 25.

“Our food pantry is fully stocked. We look forward to serving as many students that need help as we can,” she said. “With the partners that have already donated, I think we have a really good foundation.”

Students can pick up “go bags” at the Office for the Dean of Students from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. every weekday. Each bag contains about five to seven pounds of canned food including protein, vegetables, carbohydrates, fruits and hygiene products if requested.

To use this resource, students must order the food online so staff members can prepare the order, said Paulina Abustan, Office for Access and Opportunity graduate student assistant and doctoral student.

The pantry saw an increase in visitors since April 6, Schilter said. The office would have about two or three visitors on any regular day, but more recently about 10 have been using this resource.

“More and more students are going hungry due to a rising cost of tuition,” Abustan said. “Especially with the pandemic happening, you know loved ones are getting sick or they’re losing their jobs.”

Iris Alatorre, Women*s Center program coordinator, said Rosario’s Place closed for the rest of the semester, but that does not mean it will stop supporting students.

The Women*s Center has been donating its canned food, feminine products, baby food and condoms to the Food Pantry in the Lighty Student Services building, she said.

In regards to baby clothing and supplies for children, parents are being directed to the Pullman Community Action Center for help.

“The Office for Access & Opportunity still exists. Rosario’s Place still exists,” Abustan said. “However, operations are now limited to one pantry.”

The new pantry received several donations and support from community partners, such as Dissmore’s, WSU Dining Services, MEChA and ASWSU.

The WSU Dining Services donated cookies, muffins and bread Tuesday afternoon, Schilter said. 

Abustan said the Community Action Center also donates perishable items once a week and sometimes bi-weekly.

“At the Community Action Center we have a larger discussion about food insecurity in the community,” Schilter said. “This way we’ve been able to see what needs in our food pantry versus the needs of the Community Action Center, and then work to fill gaps.” 

The WSU pantry will accept physical items, however, they are encouraging monetary donations. Food donations are put into “quarantine” for 10 days before the office can handle the items, she said.

The CougParents Fund during the annual Mom’s Weekend food drive, in partnership with Dissmore’s, contributed about $600 to the food pantry, Schilter said. Dissmore’s also offers a 10 percent discount for the pantry to purchase items.

In addition, ASWSU contributed $2,400 to the pantry as of Wednesday morning.

Those interested can donate at the Office of the Dean of Students website. No new volunteers are being accepted at this time to comply with state regulations.

“Even before COVID-19, our food pantry is completely running on donations,” Abustan said. “One week, our pantry can be full with lots of food, then the other week it can be very low.”