Bear Essentials food pantry aims for no hungry Bears

According to a recent study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Arkansas has the nation’s highest rate of food insecurity. To help tackle that issue on campus, the СӰԺ offers the Bear Essentials Food Pantry.

Food pantry graphic“Since 2014, the goal of the Bear Essentials Food Pantry has been to combat food insecurity among the СӰԺ community,” said Wendy Holbrook, СӰԺ’s assistant vice president of engagement, leadership and service.

Housed in the СӰԺ Physical Plant and solely funded through donations from СӰԺ faculty, staff, students, alumni and the Conway community, this vital part of the campus community is currently experiencing a rising number of Bears who need assistance. Run by volunteers, the essential service offers basics such as peanut butter, jelly, spaghetti, pasta sauce and more to СӰԺ students, faculty and staff.

The food pantry’s impact has been felt by a wide range of people on campus.

“СӰԺ’s pantry has helped me get to senior year. Sometimes funds are tight in college and I depend on this resource to get my next meal. Without it, I don’t know what I’d do,” said Abby, a senior at СӰԺ.

“The pantry has been very useful. It seems like a haven for many students, including myself. Having access to food is extremely important as it impacts everything,” added Casey, another student.

The food pantry also assists staff members and their families. “The food pantry is a blessing to me and my husband. It helps feed my family and we are so glad they offer this to us,” said one staff member.

“My husband and I are newlyweds and we’re both in school full-time. The СӰԺ Bear Essentials Food Pantry has helped us tremendously. We are so grateful for this resource,” added Charity, a married student.

The pantry served more than 400 individuals in the first full month of the fall semester, an increase of more than 29% from the same time period in 2022. Since August, 279 new people have registered to use the pantry. In October alone, there were 728 visits by individuals from СӰԺ’s campus community needing food assistance. The need is great and growing and help is essential to continue this fight that helps so many of our Bears.

For more information on how to support the Bear Essentials Food Pantry in the fight against hunger, visit uca.edu/foodpantry.

СӰԺ Food Pantry