Resource Pantry Organizes Student Support for 8 Weeks This Winter
This year, the West Chester University Resource Pantry’s Operation SNOW (Student Needs Over Winter), which accommodates students in the Promise Program who stay on campus over the winter break, is expanding its services from its standard one week of supplies to eight weeks. The shift was necessary because Aramark, which operates the University’s dining hall, will be closed from November 20 through January 22.
On Thursday, November 19, approximately 25 volunteers gathered in two shifts in Sykes Student Union Ballrooms to organize and pack items into bags and boxes that will be delivered to students throughout that time period.
The pantry typically provides students with a week’s worth of groceries and personal care items while the dining hall, shuttle buses, and Resource Pantry are not operating. When the time frame during which the students would need support expanded, so did the campus response to the need.
Faculty and staff have been donating food and personal care items since October 12. “We also worked with community donors to collect food and supplies,” reports Pam Frontino, associate director of the University’s Center for Civic Engagement & Social Impact, who organized the volunteers and the event. She also offered to drive to WCU employees’ homes to pick up donated items if those employees were uncomfortable coming to campus.
The event coincided with National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week (Nov. 15 to 22).
“The global pandemic has been especially difficult for the individuals in our society who already struggled with basic need insecurities prior to the outbreak of Covid-19,” said Frontino. “College students are no exception, and many face an elevated set of challenges as they navigate the student experience during these harsh times.”
Tori Nuccio is WCU’s Single Point of Contact for unaccompanied foster and homeless youth and those in WCU’s Promise Program.