The Food Pantry: For all students in need

Photo by Nickolus Patraszewski | The Pantry logo

UWT’s Food Pantry is available to all students in need of basic necessities such as food, and a range of hygiene products. Shopping or ordering is easy and convenient.

As a way of combating food insecurity on campus, the UWT has a resource available to all students: The Pantry. Located in Dougan 104, the Pantry provides an essential service to the campus by offering food items and even hygiene products to students. 

According to Victor Jose Vazquez-Gutierrez, one of the Pantry Assistants, “A research survey was conducted in 2013 by a faculty member in the Healthcare leadership and Nursing program, Dr. Christine Stevens reported that 32 percent of UWT students were facing some form of food insecurity and 14 percent faced homelessness. These statistics were very concerning as it showed that many students were struggling to just meet their basic necessities. The Pantry was then established under the Center of Equity and Inclusion as a result of the research and advocacy from Dr. Stevens.” Three years later in 2016, the Pantry was established.

The Pantry doesn’t just have food and hygiene products available, though. Vazquez-Gutierrez says that they also, “try to have home items and baby items in stock for our pantry. We do that because we understand that food insecurity especially hits families hard, and we believe that having diapers and other baby products can help alleviate those stresses.” There is also an option to fill out an item recommendation form or to talk to Pantry assistants if there are specific items you’d like the Pantry to provide. For immediate troubles or more extensive services, Mr. Vazquez-Gutierrez recommends visiting the UWT’s website for options. 

The Pantry is currently open for in-person shopping where students can visit once a week and select up to twenty items. If students prefer not to shop in-person for their items, there is an online order option available on the Pantry’s website. “Online pickup is the most convenient option for students who otherwise don’t have the time to come in and pick food items themselves,” he continues, “By using our website, you will be able to find a link to fill out a form about your specific needs, allergies, etc., and we will have your order placed once you are done filling out the form. Pick up days are Wednesday and Thursday, but we understand if circumstances change and you have to come on Friday or even Tuesday—just email us.” 

Vasquez-Gutierrez feels that the Pantry has made a difference for the UWT and its students. He says, “I believe that the pantry has definitely made an impact on the school and will continue to do so because of its involvement in helping those with food insecurity and just by offering resources that can help anyone no matter their identity or status. Everyone is welcome to stop by our doors for questions or any concerns we can address.”

 Vasquez-Gutierrez also says that his favorite thing about the Pantry “has to be our willingness to adapt to the needs of the student body. What I mean by that is we will order items and be on the lookout for specific requests from the students themselves through our recommendation forms and just by listening to students coming and suggesting items. We want to offer what the students want and need, and I think that is an essential part of our environment and culture that we wish to keep going as the years pass.”

For more information on the Pantry and its services, or to make a donation, please visit their website at: https://www.tacoma.uw.edu/pantry

Pantry email : pantry@uw.edu

Emergency aid website : https://www.washington.edu/emergencyaid/tacoma/

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