This holiday season, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh Titans from all around campus are working hard to tackle hunger.
Student-coordinated efforts at Reeve Memorial Union and in various departments on campus paired with national campaigns are making sure families in Oshkosh and the region are well-fed and nourished for the holiday season.
On Dec. 20, Feeding America will set up their Mobile Pantry Program on the UW Oshkosh campus. The event opens a large-scale food pantry at Kolf Sports Center in gyms A and B to the public from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m.
Coaches and student-athletes from the athletics department along with student affairs staff and students and others around campus will serve as on-site volunteers at the event; volunteers will not only aid in distributing food, but they’ll also unload the semitrailer of food during set-up.
“Mobile pantries allow food banks to engage a much larger circle of groups in supplying food to the needy, thereby increasing the number of people served, and extending service into regions that the food bank hadn’t before been able to reach, ” according to Feeding America’s summary of the program.
Kolf Sports Center was chosen due to it’s central location in Oshkosh.
Additionally, throughout the month of November–Hunger and Homelessness Month–Reeve Memorial Union and University food vendor Sodexo offered opportunities for students, staff and faculty to give through a couple of fundraising events, which helped raise money for the Oshkosh Area Food Pantry.
At area dining locations around campus throughout the month, $1 or $5 could be added on to the price of each purchase, which raised more than $2,200. This giving-format was something new this semester and helped double the giving efforts, said Marty Strand, assistant director for dining operations at UW Oshkosh. A similar fundraiser will be held again in the spring.
“This will let the Oshkosh community know that there is a homeless population here that needs our help,” said Briana Patton, the student sustainability adviser at Reeve Union who helped with marketing to spread awareness of the efforts. “Small donations make a difference. Sometimes a little can go a long way.”
A Nov. 12 Empty Bowls fundraiser, which invited participants to purchase a bowl of soup in the Titan Underground, raised nearly $700.
“Each dollar donated to the Oshkosh Area Community Pantry allows them to purchase five pounds of food,” said Danielle Jones, program adviser for diversity and inclusion programs, who had a role in coordinating Empty Bowls with the help of the art department, Reeve Union Board and Reeve marketing. “This is an amazing impact on hunger in our community.”
“With the money raised, the food pantry should be able to purchase more than 10,000 pounds of food. This will go a long way in feeding the more than 3,000 families in the Oshkosh area that rely on the pantry for their families,” Strand said.