Student food pantry sees big increase in use

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) – A local food pantry is getting a lot of use.

Western Technical College’s Cavalier Cupboard food pantry has helped roughly double the number of people from the previous year, serving 2,128 in 2019-2020, compared to 1,053 the year prior.

And when the pantry was temporarily closed between mid-March and the beginning of May, 88 food packages were distributed, getting food out to nearly 200 people.

Staff says food insecurity among students has always been a problem, but this increase is due to its recent move to a new location and how students feel about reaching out for help.

“What colleges are figuring out is that making the food pantry as accessible as possible by removing all kinds of barriers, little and big, make it easier for students to get the help that they need,” said Kari Reyburn, Director of Equity, Inclusion, and Community Engagement at Western Technical College.

Reyburn says when stigmas surrounding food insecurity are removed, more people are willing to stop by.