MENOMONIE Wisc. (WLAX/WEUX) – On Giving Tuesday, UW-Stout in Menomonie is asking for help to support its food pantry.

Stout Gives Back is a 24-hour campaign where donations will be matched. Since 2019, UW-Stout students have had a place to turn if they can’t afford food. Associate Dean of Students Jacqueline Bonneville helps run Helping Hand, the on-campus food pantry. She says the idea came from a staff member who wanted to address food insecurity at Stout.

“Even students who live on campus run out of their dining dollars and, you know, experience food insecurity in terms of their time here, and, of course, many of our off-campus students. Having this as an option helps them supplement their food needs.”, said Bonneville.

She says since the pantry opened almost three years ago, it’s grown, moved locations twice, and continues serving more students.

“We are noticing that every month our users are growing. What is happening is, first of all, there might be more food insecurity, but there is also better sharing of information so that students are more aware of this.”, said Bonneville.

She says she wants more students coming proactively so they can budget their meals and not run out of dining dollars towards the end of the semester. However, increased demand means increases in costs.

To meet those needs, Stout University Foundation Executive Director William Johnson says helping hands is one of several on-campus causes being featured Tuesday for “Stout Gives Back Day.”

“We encourage people to give back to anything on campus that they wish to. Whether it’s a program or an activity that’s not necessarily one of the highlighted programs, we are encouraging people to find something that they care about on-campus and make that donation during this 24-hour period.”, said Johnson.

And with matching funds, both Johnson and Bonneville say even a small donation can go a long way regardless of the program you give to. Johnson says matching funds will come from donors who’ve promised to match donations up to a certain amount.