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A University of Wisconsin Oshkosh program with a legacy of helping employees will extend its support to the greater Oshkosh community.

The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) will host a day-long food drive May 1 to benefit the Oshkosh Area Community Pantry, formerly the Ecumenical Food Pantry, which served more than 14,000 residents of southern Winnebago County last year.

“EAP has been caring for campus for 30 years,” said Joseph Abhold, Counseling Center director and acting EAP director. “We thought the food drive would be a great way to show the University’s commitment to the broader community as well.”

EAP’s confidential services include personal/family consultation and support; referral to community resources as needed; consultation with supervisors, union stewards, faculty and academic staff; career counseling; guidance on coping with difficult work situations; and education. Brown-bag lunches for the campus community have addressed such topics as organization, procrastination and stress management.

Human Resources Manager John Willihnganz said the program is designed to help employees with both personal and work-related issues.

“If there are problems that are impacting an employee’s ability to function at their job, I can refer them to EAP,” Willihnganz said.

The program also has a history of partnering with employees to make a difference in the Oshkosh community, including organizing a mitten tree for Oshkosh children in need and a stuffed-animal drive for hospitalized children.

The May 1 food drive will run from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Employees will receive plastic bags for donations such as peanut butter, canned soups, canned fruits and vegetables, tuna, Hamburger Helper, macaroni and cheese, and cereal. Donations can be dropped off in Parking Lot 13, between Kolf Sports Complex and the parking ramp.

Early drop off will be available from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. April 30 at Dempsey Hall’s loading dock.

In light of the economic recession, Steve Vickman, executive director of Oshkosh Area Community Pantry, is grateful for the support the pantry has received from the community.

“Our numbers are up 22 percent, year to date, and we expect it will continue to increase,” Vickman said. “We’re very excited about partnering with UW Oshkosh because we know it is one of the largest employers in the city.”

EAP will conclude its 30th anniversary with a reception and open house at the Employee Assistance/Counseling Center Offices from 2:30 to 4 p.m. on the second floor of Dempsey Hall. Chancellor Richard H. Wells will speak at 3 p.m., and cake and refreshments will be served.

Employees can contact EAP at (920) 424-2061 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information, visit www.uwosh.edu/eap.

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