Shocker Food Locker changes locations for accessibility

Using the Shocker Food Locker food pantry doesn’t mean you’re poor — it means you’re a college student, said Student Body President Joseph Shepard.

“We’re struggling at times,” Shepard said. “We have a lot of students who live paycheck to paycheck. We’re finding it ranges from individuals who are on the poverty line to students who are just hungry, going to take a test, and need some brain food in order to produce the best grades in the class.”

To help to destigmatize and increase accessibility, Wichita State’s Student Government Association moved its Shocker Food Locker food pantry from the Heskett Center to the SGA office in the Rhatigan Student Center 2nd floor over the summer.

Shepard said so far the location change has proven to be a success.

“We’ve seen a plethora of students starting to use it,” Shepard said. “Even during the summer, we had a large number of students asking to use the food pantry. That let us know that we made a good decision.”

The food pantry allows students and faculty to take up to 10 items a week, according to SGA Chief of Staff Katie Deutsch. Deutsch said SGA plans on also implementing Shocker Food Locker boxes, to be dropped off around campus.

“We want to pretty much take certain food items and put them wherever (on campus),” Deutsch said. “It destigmatizes it, and it’s readily available to students. It drives awareness that it’s there.”

The food comes through donations, whether by individuals or organizations, Shepard said. The room is “almost packed,” but Shepard said SGA plans on filling it to its entirety. 

Food items range from canned goods, macaroni and cheese, breakfast bars and much more, Shepard said.

“You name it, we got it,” Shepard said.

Shepard said that as an association, SGA is working to bring more awareness to the issue of hunger. 

“As a society, we have this mindset that hunger is something that is never going to go away, or poverty is something that’s never going to go away, but what we believe as a team is that if we can just help one person along the way, then that’s one less person that’s going to sleep hungry,” Shepard said. “That’s our goal: If it’s just one person that we serve for the entire semester, then we’ve served our purpose. We’ve given someone the opportunity to get through the day.”