Pennsylvania Western University is one of 28 colleges and universities to receive grant funding as part of the PA Hunger-Free Campus Initiative by the Pennsylvania Department of Education to help combat food insecurities in higher education.

The PennWest Pantry supports students who may be experiencing hunger or hardship for assorted reasons.

The Pantry has five locations across the three campuses – Edinboro’s Ghering Health and Wellness Center and Pogh Hall; Clarion’s Gemmell Student Complex; California’s Natali Student Center, and Vulcan Village in California Borough.

PennWest initially was named a PA Hunger-Free Campus in September. The university will receive $60,000 in total funding – the maximum allocated by Gov. Tom Wolf –  to help further PennWest’s goal of making sure no student is at risk of falling behind due to hunger or lack of necessities.

The PA Hunger-Free Campus initiative focuses on building a coalition of colleges and universities focused on addressing hunger and other basic needs for their students; creating opportunities for connection among student hunger advocates; supplying resources and strategies for campuses; and supporting opportunities to apply for grants related to addressing food insecurity.

Statistics from the Department of Education show that one-third of all postsecondary students are at risk of hunger.

Diane Hasbrouck, director of the PennWest Pantry, said the funding will help PennWest Pantry continue its mission to see that no student goes to class hungry.

“No student, regardless of status, should be at risk of losing their academic status because of food insecurity or lack of basic needs,” Hasbrouck said. “The grant will allow us to continue to serve our students while expanding offerings and creating new partnerships.”

Hasbrouck noted that PennWest Pantry’s goals include a focus on SNAP  benefits, furthering partnerships and programs, and adding perishable and hot food options to the Pantry’s offerings.

Students seeking aid can apply through my.pennwest.edu by scrolling down to the PennWest Pantry section and selecting the PennWest Pantry link. Students will then be able to select their campus and what supplies and food items they need.

The Pantry is accepting donations. Monetary donations can be made online; non-perishable food items (cereal, soup, microwavable noodles or rice, dried or canned fruit, oatmeal, etc.) and personal care items (toilet paper, hand soap, body wash, shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, deodorant, etc.) are also accepted.

For more information on the Pantry or to schedule a donation, contact Hasbrouck at hasbrouck_d@pennwest.edu.