Campus food pantry sees growing need for donations

UW-L Alumni Board

Members of the UW-L Alumni Association board of directors pose with contributions for the Helping Our Own food pantry. Front Row: Janie Spencer, Laurie Maloney, Lisa Butterfield, David Wambach, Kris Cvikota. Row two: Ken Schmocker, Tom Lynch, Kristina Rynes, Lore Vang, Trish Harman, Amy DuPont, Jackie Strutt. Back: Jeff Bryant, Dave Peterson, Kelly Nowicki, Chris Bowron, Corey Sjoquist, and Anne Grayson.


This fall semester the UW-La Crosse campus food pantry saw a 34 percent increase in use from the previous semester. About 450 people stopped in the Helping Our Own food pantry in Cartwright Center to pick up non-perishable food items.

UW-L Alumni who want to help students in need are encouraged to donate non-perishable food items as part of a UW-L Alumni Association food drive. Food donations can be dropped off from 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday- Friday, at the Cleary Alumni and Friends Center, 615 East Ave. N., La Crosse.

Some of the most needed items include cereal, pasta noodles, canned meat, pasta sauces, peanut butter, and desserts/snack food. Other items include granola bars, instant oatmeal, Pop Tarts and quick meals like Hamburger Helper, Rice-a-Roni, and Lipton side dishes.

The campus food pantry, located on the second floor of UW-L’s Cartwright Center, allows students to pick up food items at no cost. UW-L Student Jordan Raether says he works part-time at Kwik Trip to help subsidize student loans.

“The money I save on food helps me focus on paying my tuition and not compromising a casual meal for further debt or hunger pains,” he explains. “I can always have peace of mind knowing there is a safety net out there for students like me as a result of the UW-L Food Pantry.”

Numerous organizations also provide assistance to the pantry, including Roncalli Newman Center, Hunger Task Force and Chartwells.

“Some days I will stop in and grab a weeks’ worth of canned grocery items and other days I will stop in for a meal I can make between classes such as Mac & Cheese,” states Raether. “I encourage you to stop by the UW-L food pantry and watch the students as their eyes light up being able to pick out a weeks’ worth of groceries and the weight on the shoulders miraculously disappears.”

The food pantry is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Friday while school is in session. The pantry opened on campus in the fall of 2006.

“Special thanks to Kelly Bryant for spearheading the alumni food drive project,” notes Janie Spencer, executive director. “This is a great way for alumni to provide an important service to our students in need.”

“Working on this project has allowed me to understand the importance of the UW-L food pantry both within the campus and La Crosse community,” says Bryant.

For more information on how you can contribute to Helping Our Own Food Pantry please contact Kaye Schendel at, (608) 785-8869 or Janie Spencer at, (608) 785-8495. Cash donations or checks (made out to the UW-L Foundation) are also accepted and can be mailed to UW-L’s Leadership and Involvement Center, 221 Cartwright Center, 1725 State St., La Crosse.