Western Technical College provides pop-up food pantry for students in need

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Western Technical College in La Crosse has a food pantry that serves around 200 students each month.

However, with in-person classes cancelled, it’s changing things up to still provide food for those in need.

“With the La Crosse campus closed, we wanted to do a pop-up food pantry so that our students who are in need could come a few times this week and grab some of the items that they need,” said Amy Thornton, vice president of Western student service and engagement.

Food distribution started Monday with two more days scheduled on Wednesday and Saturday.

The packages contain enough items to make several meals.

“We have canned goods, we have a protein item and vegetables,” Thornton said. “We do have some snacks in there, some cereal. We are also giving away personal hygiene items and diapers are available as well.”

Each student also receives a gift card to Festival Foods and coupons for milk, bread, and bananas at Kwik Trip.

Students receiving the packages say they are grateful that Western is still providing food from the pantry.

“That’s what I rely on during the week is school… If I didn’t have food, I always got it [at the pantry],” said Sarah Bowman, a Western student.

The school is also taking precautions when it comes to how it’s distributing the packages.

“We had a group of people doing the packaging last Friday, so we’re gloved up and doing that and then having the students drive up,” Thornton said.

After the students fill out quick paperwork, the food is brought out to them, so they don’t have to enter the building.

Staff also change gloves and use hand sanitizer as needed.

Western says it’s important to care for its students entire well-beings.

“Not only do they need support in being successful in college through tutoring or academic supports, but also non-academic support,” said Thornton.

The technical college hopes that by still providing food, students can focus on their families and studies and not where the next meal is coming from.

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