At the University of Nevada, Reno, one in four students reported experiencing food insecurity, according to a 2020 Civic Engagement survey of all students done by the center for student engagement. During the COVID-19 pandemic, in the last academic year of 2019-2020, visits to Pack Provisions nearly doubled to 4,211 visits.
The University and Pack Provisions are asking for help toward the $25,000 year-end goal to support the Wolf Pack members in need. Last year, hundreds generously donated and Pack Provisions was able to provide more than 150,000 meals for University students in need.
"Supporting Pack Provisions helps guarantee hunger is not a barrier to student success," Sophie Morton, student director of Pack Provisions, said. "The mission of Pack Provisions is to ensure all members of the University achieve success with access to daily resources. Pack Provisions provides social wellness through perishable and non-perishable foods, grocery funds, school supplies, hygiene items and more. A big part of what Pack Provisions provides to the University community is through donations."
Food insecurity in college is associated with many unfavorable outcomes including poor health, difficulty concentrating and even an increased dropout rate. Supporting students to help meet their basic needs is pertinent in their success, ensuring they remain focused on finishing their degree without the worry of where their next meal is coming from.
Valerie Milanes, a student visitor to Pack Provisions, was grateful for the service in a time of need.
"Food insecurity, I feel like, is like when there are so many other needs that are pressing in the moment when you don't have that ability to afford food," she said. "Food is the last thing on your mind because you have X,Y,Z things in front of you that do take priority in that moment and then that's when you're like, oh, I can't eat this week.
"It was a really tough time I actually depended a lot on Pack Provisions, in order to have just some kind of food to get me by until I could get back on my feet a little bit more and find another job and keep going with life. So, yeah, it was really important."
Support to Pack Provisions can make all the difference for students facing food insecurity and will help keep them on track to graduate.
“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.
So far, with 44 days left for the fundraing drive, there have been 56 donors reaching 44% of the $25,000 goal. Pack Provisions exists through the generous support of the Associated Students of the University of Nevada, the Food Bank of Northern Nevada, Desert Farming Initiative and donors.
According to the Food Bank of Northern Nevada, a $50 donation can fund 150 meals. This year-end, consider making a generous donation to Pack Provisions to help keep students healthy, fed and successful. Every gift, no matter the size, will positively impact a student’s life.
Students are thankful for the support, as evidenced by a couple of examples of anonymous student comments from the Civic Engagement survey:
- "...there were days I didn't get to eat at all, until I had Pack Provisions."
- "I'm really thankful I had Pack Provisions during some hard financial times. It's a great resource."
"What I want other people to know about pack provisions is that it is not a resource to be ashamed of whatsoever," Marisa Moran, a social work student intern for Pack Provisions, said. "The stigmas around food insecurity is too large and too many students actually need food and they don't speak out about it. So I think that Pack Provisions shouldn't be something you're ashamed of. It's something to be proud of that the University does for you."
This #GivingTuesday, Nov. 30, and until the end of the year, the University of Nevada, Reno and Pack Provisions are asking the community to again consider donating. Donations, in any amount, can help a struggling Wolf Pack student thrive physically, mentally and academically. To donate to the Pack Provisions 2021 year-end goal and for more information: https://crowdfund.unr.edu/PackProvisions2021.
For more information about supporting Pack Provisions, please contact Torrey Hood, director of annual giving at firstname.lastname@example.org or (775) 682-6544.