Weber Cares provides healthy food to hungry students

It’s that time again. Right now food banks across the nation are most in need of supplies to meet the increased demand for food during the holiday season.

11-4 Food Closet  (Kaitlyn Johnson) (1 of 2)
Weber Cares pantry on the fourth floor of the Shepherd Union building. (Kaitlyn Johnson/Signpost)

According to the Utah Food Bank, one in six Utahns are at risk of missing a meal every day. That equates to 16 percent of the population. Furthermore, one in five Utah students are not sure where their next meal will come from.

Weber State is taking measures to ensure that its hungry students are fed.

The Weber Cares program was created within the Center for Community Engaged Learning in 2011 to help combat food insecurity among Weber State students.

“Students are experiencing, just as much as the larger community, difficulty with food,” said Mike Moon, assistant director of the Center for Community Engaged Learning (CCEL). “It’s not necessarily in students purchasing food to live, but they’re decreasing the value of their food to cheaper food.”

The CCEL’s website states that the purposes of the Weber Cares program are to increase healthy eating options, decrease food insecurity and increase students’ ability to stay in school and finish their degree.

The program is made up of two options for students who are experiencing food insecurity to get help.

A food pantry is available in Room 402 of the Shepherd Union. It is open to qualified students Monday through Friday from 12:30-3:30 p.m. Students are considered qualified if they don’t have enough money to buy a healthy meal. There are plenty of students who are not going hungry, yet lack the basic nutrients in their diet for it to be considered healthy.

For example, many students trying to save money will eat macaroni and cheese from time to time, but if someone is living on a mainly mac and cheese diet, they would most likely qualify to use the pantry. The food pantry is stocked with staple foods such as pasta, beans, rice and canned goods.

“Students can get food for themselves, as well as any dependents,” Moon said. “A son or daughter under the age of 18 and/or a spouse.”

Weber Cares also aids students with a meal voucher program. These vouchers are available at the CCEL, and allow students to get more immediate assistance by receiving a hot meal from the Sodexo dining services on campus.

For those who are looking to help, the CCEL always welcomes donations and volunteers. The current needs of the Weber Cares food pantry are boxed meals, breakfast cereal, oatmeal, canned fruit and canned Chunky soup.

For more information on how to donate or receive food, contact the CCEL at 801-626-7737, or stop by the CCEL on third floor of the Shepherd Union building.