Located in the hallway cove near the Fox Cities Student Affairs office is an old bookshelf stocked with soup cans, soaps and school supplies.
While this bookshelf, also known as the Fox Pantry, may not look like much, its availability has helped numerous students to simply get by in financially difficult times.
The Fox Pantry is available on a take-what-you-need basis, no questions asked. This is an excellent resource for students struggling with where they will get their next meal, batch of hygiene products or necessary school supplies.
The small-scale pantry relies solely on donations, like boxes of cereal, feminine hygiene products and grab-and-go snacks.
Currently, the Fox Pantry is running its fall food drive, encouraging community members to donate what they can to “Pack the Pantry.”
“Our shelves kept ending up empty,” said New Student Event Coordinator Jackie Connell.
Connell remembered how in 2019, the supply of donations couldn’t keep up with the demand for products.
Now, as many community members are still in recovery from a nation-wide issue of financial insecurity due to the recent pandemic, Connell has set a goal of 500 donated items.
“This has been a tough couple of years now,” said Connell. “We hope to create a backstock of items to keep our shelves full through winter.”
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the annual fall food drive for the Fox Pantry could not take place.
UW Oshkosh-Fox Cities sophomore Jeremiah Lichtfuss shared his experience with the Fox Pantry.
“I thought it was awesome because it provided me with stuff I wouldn’t normally be able to get,” Lichtfuss said about utilizing the student resource last year.
Lichtfuss says the pantry is particularly useful for students living on their own and paying for their own tuition.
“The cost of college is so expensive already,” he shared. “It’s extremely useful to save on my monthly budget.”
With the cost of tuition rising at a rate much quicker than the average household income, the process of sending students through college is becoming an increasingly costful burden.
According to a study by LendEDU, 68% of college students are at least partially, if not fully, responsible for paying the cost of their schooling.
Because of this, the number of students also working jobs has been in a steady incline over the past decade.
“The pantry is great for students who need to alleviate some of their financial stress,” Lichtfuss said. “It’s perfect for students who are too busy to cook their own meals, can’t afford it or don’t have a way to get to the grocery store.”
The “Pack the Pantry” food drive is currently in its last week of accepting donations counted toward the 500-item goal. So far, over half of the goal has been reached.
The food drive team is doing a final promotional push for donations until Nov. 8, but it will continue to accept donations even after the event ends.