By Whitney Vickers
FAIRBORN — Wright State University students facing hardships don’t have to prioritize classes over food — the Friendship Food Pantry provides students registered for at least one class with food and needed household items.
Whether a student is in the midst of a challenging situation such as housing troubles, relationship displacement — even poor budgeting — the Friendship Food Pantry can give them 48 hours worth of food, toiletries and, in some cases, baby items.
“Sometimes they leave with more,” Pantry Coordinator Mary Case said.
Upon needing assistance, students would approach the pantry and communicate the family size. Pantry officials determine the amount of items that will be given according to the amount of people being fed. Students are not asked about the situation that led them to the need to ask for help. They are then given a list and walked through the pantry and refrigerator sections by a volunteer to select their items. Students are permitted to utilize the pantry every 30 days.
While its normal hours change each semester — currently open 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Mondays and 1:30-4:30 p.m. Thursdays — Case is able to meet students at the pantry at any point to assist students in need. Case also serves as a benefit bank counselor, meaning she is able to help students find additional resources if they show the need, such as food stamps and other programs to help.
“There’s all kinds of support for families with children,” she said.
Pantry volunteers help in a variety of capacities, sometimes serving each week and sometimes serving once per semester. In some cases, students who previously utilized the pantry will volunteer with giving back in mind.
It will accept any items for donations, but Case said the pantry is particularly in need of breakfast meals, treats and hardy items, such as carbohydrate-rich foods, beans, pasta and rice. She said portable snacks, such as fruit cups, crackers and items of the like, are beneficial as well because sometimes students will approach the pantry with an empty belly and will need to fuel up quickly.
Donated items are not limited to non-perishable items, as the pantry includes a refrigerated and frozen section. Case said sometimes individuals will donate produce from their own gardens as well.
“Class doesn’t have to come second to food,” Case said.