Sarah Arnold has always wanted to help those who are hungry in the community.
Striving to make ends meet and put food on the table is a struggle of which she is very aware.
“I couldn’t afford meal plans and barely made enough money to pay my bills so I lived on ramen noodles for a while,” Arnold said.
“Having had that experience, I can only imagine what it is like to do all of those things as well as have children to have to feed.”
Arnold started the food pantry when she was interning at the Counseling and Testing Center. The pantry started out as just a closet in the center. However, in March of this year it moved to the Gender and Women’s studies house.
“We have a much larger space and are able to be open more hours,” Arnold said.
Helping with the food pantry, Hazard freshman Courtney Ritchie says that she knows what it is like and what a relief help can be. Ritchie assists patrons and gathers donations among many other things.
“There are students, faculty, and staff who are having a hard time trying to feed themselves or their families,” she said. “The community will benefit because the food pantry is helping so many of these people.”
The food pantry is open for WKU students, faculty and staff, and is supported entirely with donations from the community. The pantry has been open for more than a year and has been successful in helping many individuals who would go hungry without the pantry. “The food pantry provides many opportunities for the community to work together through food drives and other events to help raise awareness of hunger being an issue,” she said.
Arnold said this will also benefit other food pantries. With WKU students and employees using the on-campus food pantry they don’t have to go to other pantries in the area. Thus, these pantries are able to provide more to surrounding neighborhoods.
“It is literally the WKU community helping the WKU community,” said Arnold. “People may not realize it but a donation from one department could provide assistance to someone in that same department. The food pantry is completely confidential.”
Arnold said having this food pantry will lessen the amount of stress with which a college student has to deal. She also added that it will eliminate the worry that faculty will not be able to put food on the table for their families.
“My hope is that with food assistance to students and employees, they are able to better focus on school and work without having so much worry about where the next meal will come from,” Arnold said. “I also hope that with this as an option for students, parents will decrease worry about their kids when they come to campus.”
Arnold hopes that the pantry will continue to help people in the community, but also that they can open branches of the food pantry to other WKU campuses.
“A donation of a few cans can go a long way,” she said. “We’re not only helping WKU students and employees, we’re helping families in the community.”
Arnold said she hopes her efforts can put a tangible dent on hunger throughout the area.
“So many children go home hungry every day and it is my hope that with this food pantry we can help decrease those numbers by helping out the WKU community,” she said.