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Food pantries look to keep up with holiday demand

Student grabs food at the Cavalier Cupboard.
Student grabs food at the Cavalier Cupboard.

La Crosse, Wis. (WXOW) – Need has no season or description and that is true at Western Technical College as well.

The college’s Cavalier Cupboard hopes to alleviate that need since it was formed in 2014.

“It’s been really beneficial,” First year student Shaila Swenson said.”It’s helped me a little bit with groceries because college is pretty expensive.”

Trying to ease student needs further, the university put together holiday meals It’s a bag of food filled with a complete meal including a gift card for the student to choose their own protein.

“Christmas is already stressful,” Community Engagement Coordinator Kari Reyburn said. “Now I have to provide food for my family and make it extra special because it’s the holiday.”Food on shelves at food pantry

“So now they don’t have to stress about that. They can kind of just relax and enjoy this break that they have during college season and just enjoy their family and that time together,” she added.

The meals also highlight the need all students can face. Melissa McCormick volunteers at the cupboard and says it can be hard for her classmates to ask for help.

“We try to form that connection with them to find out, do they need help with rent?” she explains. “Do they need help with their heat bill?”

Christmas meals packed and ready to be handed out at Cavalier Cupboard
Christmas meals packed and ready to be handed out at Cavalier Cupboard

The need is hitting all parts of La Crosse. At Wafer Food Pantry, they said they normally offer unlimited produce to families, but that had to change.

“Probably about three weeks ago we had to significantly limit it,” Executive Director Erin Waldhart said. “We had about a pallet of produce on hand.”

So while donations are going strong at WTC, they hope people remember the need won’t go away once the holiday ends.

“They might be one paycheck away from being homeless. So it can be their neighbor, their family member, their own son or daughter. So keep that in mind and it’s always nice to help out people,” McCormick adds.

The biggest need the Cavalier Cupboard looks for is fresh produce and proteins like canned tuna or canned Food sits on shelf at food pantry.chicken.

They also say they receive support from the Hunger Task Force. So attending the Rotary Lights is also in turn helping support students using their services.

Jeremy Culver

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