In the last year, the number of students at the University of Nevada, Reno experiencing food insecurity increased from 22% to 24%. The U.S. Department of Agriculture defines food insecurity as lacking consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy life. For students without access to daily nutrition, food insecurity hinders their ability to perform academically. Pack Provisions, the University’s food pantry, is once again aiming to address student needs for essential items such as perishable and non-perishable food items, as well as school supplies and hygiene products, so that they can thrive physically and mentally throughout not only the semester, but also through new challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
What was once a “stop and shop” food and hygiene pantry, Pack Provisions, operated by The Associated Students of the University of Nevada (ASUN) Center for Student Engagement, shifted gears immediately in March 2020 when it realized its current system offered too much physical interaction. It now offers social distanced item pick-up and delivery through Campus Escort. Additionally, since the start of the pandemic, a Grocery Fund was made available for qualifying students to receive a direct deposit every two weeks.
“Last academic year, Pack Provisions had 1,405 total visits,” KaPreace Young, coordinator for student outreach at the University’s Center for Student Engagement, said. “This year, we’re seeing double the usage as nearly two-thirds of students report their financial situation has become more stressful as a result of the pandemic.”
Donations sought this holiday season
Given the growing need, Pack Provisions has teamed up with the University of Nevada, Reno Foundation in launching its annual crowdfunding campaign with the goal to raise $24,000 in recognition of the 24% of students who report food insecurity. Last year, Pack Provisions was able to raise more than $41,000 through its crowdfunding campaign. That money was used primarily for the grocery fund, helping to feed University students out of area.
“We realize the immense hardships felt by people across our community, our state and our nation due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Young said. “This campaign is one effort to help students who continue to be impacted, perhaps now more than ever. Any amount will help us make a difference. One-dollar can feed a student for three meals and a 10-dollar donation can feed a student for up to a month.”
“The generosity the program received last year greatly enabled Pack Provisions to meet the unanticipated increased student needs due to the pandemic,” Torrey Hood, University director of annual giving, said. “We appreciate the ongoing support of Pack Provisions from members of the Pack near and far. This year, some of the University’s corporate partners have also agreed to help.”
Hood said community partners Plumas Bank, Bank of America and Greater Nevada Credit Union are all supporting Pack Provisions with generous matching gift donations.
This Giving Tuesday, Dec. 1, and until the end of the year, the University and ASUN Center for Student Engagement are asking the community to once again consider making a donation to Pack Provisions. Donations, in any amount, can help a struggling Wolf Pack student thrive physically, mentally and academically.