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The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Backpack Program to begin hosting monthly food drives

To combat the crisis of benefits expiring, Little said the Arrupe Center for Community Service and Social Responsibility put a plan in place over the summer to begin holding monthly food drives at Marquette.
Backpack+Program+collection+box+for+the+October+food+drive.
Photo by Forster Goodrich
Backpack Program collection box for the October food drive.

This past spring, COVID-19 SNAP benefits expired across the country, impacting local provider organizations such as Feeding America of Eastern Wisconsin. This expiration meant cuts of the additional money and food that were given out during the pandemic.

Christine Little, manager of food recovery and assistance at Marquette’s Neighborhood Kitchen, said there has been a decrease in the overall quantity of food received from Feeding America since the termination of the COVID-19 benefits. The Neighborhood Kitchen is a volunteer organization that creates nutritious meals for students and locals in need, which cannot be done without help from Feeding America.

To combat the crisis of benefits expiring, Little said the Arrupe Center for Community Service and Social Responsibility put a plan in place over the summer to begin holding monthly food drives at Marquette.

“We figured having ongoing food drives with different focuses each month helps to promote the Backpack Program, raise awareness of college food insecurity and pull in more community support,” Little said. 

While it is Halloween, not every student has access to the snacks such typically handed out. The Backpack Program is looking to change that for Marquette students in need with a holiday-centered food drive.

Throughout the month of October, the Arrupe Center is supporting the Backpack Program to host a snack food drive. Little said the donated items will go to Marquette students dealing with food insecurity. While the Backpack Program hosts food drives every month, they used the October Food Drive to gather specific items.

Little said the Arrupe Center is asking for healthy snacks as donations, such as granola bars, nuts or trail mix. She said students were able to drop off these snack items in the Alumni Memorial Union room 137 all of October.

“[Snack foods] are harder to get through Feeding America, so we haven’t had as many of those on hand,” Little said. “We try to ask for healthier options, just because we want to make sure that we’re providing good food.”

Besides hosting food drives and providing college students in need with food, Little said the Neighborhood Kitchen is looking to help these students feel supported. She said this can be especially difficult at a private school like Marquette because of tuition costs. 

“My hope is we can reduce the stigma around food insecurity because it’s something that a lot of people face at any given point for no reason of their own,” Little said. “Food is a basic human right, and everyone should have access to it regardless.”

Taking inspiration from Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, Little said that food is the core necessity for everyone to have. She said that providing a resource as basic as accessible food can make a difference in the direction a student’s life goes after college.

Little said the Neighborhood Kitchen aims to support student success now at the foundational level, so students can later go on to earn college degrees, attain higher incomes and reach career goals.

“School and college are really stressful, especially for students who have to work or are on limited financial aid. There are not always resources available to them to live healthily and study,” Little said. “I think it’s important for students to understand that food insecurity is not their fault.” 

This story was written by Mia Thurow. She can be reached at [email protected].

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About the Contributors
Mia Thurow is a first-year student from Oconomowoc, Wisconsin double-majoring in Journalism and Spanish with a minor in Digital Media. She is a Marquette Wire News Reporter for the 2023-2024 school year. In her free time, Mia enjoys cheering on all her favorite sports teams, exploring downtown Milwaukee with friends, and spending time hiking in nature. Mia is excited to meet new people during her time at the Wire and raise awareness of important news stories in the local community.
Forster Goodrich, Staff Photographer
Forster Goodrich is a sophomore from Lyme, New Hampshire studying digital media. Forster works on the photography desk as a Staff Photographer. Outside of the Wire, he is on the club waterski team, and enjoys everything outdoors. He is looking forward to the upcoming basketball season and getting to photograph games at Fiserv Forum.

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