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Ogden’s Underserved Have One More Reason to Give Thanks This Year

On Saturday, Weber Cares will be hosting a food drive from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in front of Smith’s grocery store at 4275 Harrison Blvd. to help provide for students in need.

Volunteers will help Smith’s customers out to vehicles, and a table will be set up outside Smith’s to accept donations from community members detailing what is needed to help stock the Weber Cares pantry.

“The purpose of the event is to help students have a good Thanksgiving meal,” said Weber State University Student Association Assistant to the Vice President Brent Nelson.

Weber Cares Chair Eric Lancaster, who has been involved with Weber Cares for several semesters, said that he is extremely optimistic about Saturday’s drive.

“We’ve never done something like this in the past,” he said.

Due to Weber State’s demographics, there are a lot of non-traditional students who wouldn’t ordinarily be able to afford Thanksgiving because it’s a little bit more expensive than everyday food, Nelson said.

“We just want to make it special,” Nelson said.

A lot of students are really struggling trying to pay for school and stay out of debt, Lancaster said.

“A couple of them are parents and have kids and whatnot or a spouse has lost a job, so this is the way that they’re able to sustain themselves until next paycheck or to make ends meet,” he said.

Lancaster said that he usually sees about 30 students per week on average at the Weber Cares food pantry, located on the fourth floor of the Shepherd Union.

“All they have to do is come up here and sign the sheet with their W number,” Lancaster said.

Lancaster said that they use students’ W numbers to track how many students are coming back every week.  The university just wants to know that the pantry is being utilized by people, he explained.

“I think our goal is just enough to supply any students in need, and then any excess will go to Catholic Community Services,” Nelson said.

Catholic Community Services also helps Weber Cares when the pantry is running low or when they receive too much of a single item.

Nelson said that they are looking for non-perishable items that go with a Thanksgiving meal.  Food items that aren’t usually donated, like boxed stuffing, is what they are looking for, Nelson said.

“Canned soup, peanut butter and tuna fish are always the things that we’re looking for,” Lancaster said.

Weber Cares is open Monday through Friday from 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.  The CCEL office is also available to unlock the pantry outside of the open hours for students in need.

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