Campus-wide food drive supports future UALR food pantry

Reach 13,000 Food Drive

The University of Arkansas at Little Rock is launching a food pantry that organizers expect will fill a need for hundreds of people on campus.

While UALR’s food pantry doors aren’t slated to open until January, the organization already is collecting items through a partnership with the UALR Reach 13,000 Food Drive.

“I believe this will prove what a caring campus we are,” said Dr. Lillian Wichinsky, founder of UALR’s food pantry and professor of social work. “Hungry students can’t learn, and hungry staff don’t do their best work.”

According to the College and University Food Bank Alliance, “food insecurity” is an issue on college and university campuses that’s a barrier to student success, particularly with many students supporting families and working full time. The organization notes that hunger issues cut through demographic statuses, enrollment levels, and geographic locations.

“Based on estimates from other schools, we expect about 200 people a month to access the pantry,” Wichinsky said. “This will mean we will need a lot of food items.”

Any UALR organization or department can get involved in the campus-wide Reach 13,000 Food Drive competition while helping stock the new food pantry.

Reach 13,000 is a Chancellor’s Leadership Corps non-perishable food drive and UALR service project. Last year, the drive generated 15,000 donations with help from UALR organizations, departments, staff, and faculty.

The UALR Student Government Association began the Reach 13,000 Food Drive competition seven years ago. For the past five years, the Chancellor’s Leadership Corps has continued the tradition.

After the pantry becomes established, organizers would like to eventually expand the effort to include perishable items such as fresh fruits, vegetables, and meat.

The pantry will be located in the old field house behind the Donaghey Student Center and will be open two days a week.

Organizers are relying on the help of student organizations and the campus community to get the word out as well as to collect and distribute food and stock shelves.

Track the progress of Reach 13,000

The UALR community can track the progress of the Reach 13,00 Food Drive by watching the food stockpile grow next to the Information Desk in the Donaghey Student Center below the staircase.

UALR students are encouraged to drop items off in Administration North, Suite 202, in the Chancellor’s Leadership Corps Office. The collected items will be taken to the display in Donaghey Student Center.

The department that collects the most food items for Reach 13,000 will receive a free pizza party. To participate, all that is needed is a collection box, which may be requested here

The project lasts from August to November. Weekly collections began Sept. 14 and will end Nov. 6.

There are many items suggested for donation each year: canned corn, green beans, yams, chicken broth, cream of mushroom and cream of chicken soup, and cranberry sauce, as well as macaroni and cheese, cornbread mix, stuffing mix, green peas, black-eyed peas, rice, potatoes, cake mix, cake frosting, pumpkin pie filling, and Kool-Aid. Organizers typically seek nonperishable items other than ramen noodles, which often are oversupplied during food drives.

For more information about the food drive, contact Nick Steele at nlsteele@ualr.edu or 501-569-8240.

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