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Oct. 10, 2017
Recent efforts by students and employees at Northwest Missouri State University to support its Pay It Forward Food Pantry – which is celebrating the one-year anniversary of its launch today – are raising awareness and attracting donations to the initiative aimed at assisting students and employees who may be experiencing food insecurity and hunger.
A three-week competition organized by Northwest’s School of Computer Science and Information Systems (CSIS) and ending last week encouraged employees in each of the University’s academic buildings to donate items to the food pantry.
The contest resulted in cash donations and more than 1,640 items donated to the food pantry. Employees working in the Valk Center, which is the home to Northwest’s Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, won the contest and received a "Ramen Noodle Trophy" they dismantled and contributed to the food pantry.
To celebrate the food pantry’s first year and its success, students in Northwest's public relations practicum also organized an event in the campus’ J.W. Jones Student Union Tuesday to raise awareness of the food pantry. Attendees enjoyed cookies, drinks and a live radio broadcast while receiving information about the food pantry.
During its first year, the food pantry recorded more than 200 visits from students and employees, and it distributed 359 bags of food. In the meantime, the food pantry has received donations from Northwest employees, alumni and community members.
Amee Wilmes, a Pay it Forward Committee Member who is employed as senior assistant director of federal and state programs in Northwest’s Office of Scholarships and Financial Assistance, said the food pantry has never been so full and it is “overflowing with generosity.” The committee also includes Northwest employees Sue Nickerson, Edward Gibson, Clarence Green, Lori Steiner and Spencer Martin.
“Without your donations, the food pantry would not be able to assist those individual who are experiencing food insecurity and hunger,” Wilmes said. “By eliminating these factors, student success is promoted.”
Northwest opened its Pay it Forward Food Pantry in September 2016 to provide a source of food and necessities for students and employees. The initiative is spearheaded by the University’s Office of Student Affairs and a University Pay It Forward Committee organized in 2008 to assist students who are struggling financially and connect them with resources to be successful financially, socially and academically.
The food pantry offers non-perishable foods, such as canned fruits and vegetables, boxed macaroni and cheese, and packaged goods. It also offers personal hygiene items, such as soap, shampoo, toilet tissue, feminine products and toothpaste.
The food pantry, located in the Material Distribution Center adjacent to the University Police Department, is accessible from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily and staffed by University Police. Northwest’s Pay It Forward Committee stocks and maintains the pantry shelves to ensure quality products are available.
Students and employees interested in accessing the food pantry may visit the University Police front desk and ask for assistance. Students and employees must present their Bearcat Card to an officer, who will then provide access to the food pantry.
Northwest accepts food donations for the pantry at the Student Engagement Center in the J.W. Jones Student Union and at the University Police Department. Monetary donations to support the food pantry should be directed to the Northwest Foundation and are tax deductible; Northwest employees may give monetarily by completing a Faculty and Staff Annual Giving Campaign form and designating a gift to the Pay it Forward Food Pantry.
Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
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Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468