In addition to classes and other activities being moved online, UW Tacoma’s Pantry has changed guidelines and is now operating online. Like other local restaurants and businesses, The Pantry now takes online orders for students to then come to pick up.
The new Pantry operation hours are Tuesdays from 10 a.m.–11 a.m., Wednesdays between 3 p.m.–4 p.m. and Fridays from 12 p.m.–1 p.m. The Pantry does not operate on Saturdays or Sundays. The Pantry now offers a delivery option to students living in a 10 mile radius, which will occur every Monday.
With the COVID-19 crisis going on, it’s important for UWT students to continue to have food security. Nedralani Mailo, the program support supervisor for the Center for Equity and Inclusion, believes that having The Pantry available is crucial and essential.
“We want to ensure that during this trying time, we are able to support our students with their basic needs as well as their families,” Mailo said.
Students who are currently enrolled at UWT can choose from one of five different bag options to order: omnivore, vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free or kosher. Upon pick-up of these items, students will need to call The Pantry’s phone number, where then a student employee will let them into the Dougan building, as the doors will be otherwise locked. Due to social distancing, only one patron will be allowed in The Pantry at any given time.
About one in every three of the student population already face food insecurity. Mailo believes that with the COVID-19 pandemic, food insecurity does not go away for these students. If anything, it increases insecurity for some students.
In addition to food insecurity, some students face hygiene insecurity, especially for products that are in such high demand, such as toilet paper, and do their best to include these items in the ordered bags if the student selects this option. Pantry student worker LaKeisha Morris, believes that low-income students need this support now more than ever.
“It’s important for us to keep this running for low income students and students who may have lost their source of income due to the going-ons of the coronavirus,” Morris said.
The Pantry is still accepting donations on Mondays from 10 a.m.–2 p.m. at the Dougan building. Products that are in need right now include hygiene products such as toilet paper, paper towels, shampoo/conditioner and feminine products. Any healthy, fresh produce and canned or boxed goods are always appreciated.
“Students deserve to still be able to access these resources without fear of going hungry or getting exposed to the virus,” Morris said.
To submit an order, students can go on to the program website at www.tacoma.uw,edu/thepantry and fill out an online food form.