FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Thousands of college students will return to class in the coming weeks throughout Fort Wayne. Some of the biggest challenges these students need to navigate are paying tuition and completing their degrees. However, some may even struggle to take care of basic needs like food and housing.
“Unfortunately, not every college student comes to us with the same resources, obviously,” said Eric Manor, the wellness director at Purdue Fort Wayne. “Some are more supported by families. Others don’t have that luxury. And we’re here for both.”
Basic meal plans allow students to eat 2-3 times a day on campus, but some may not be able to afford a stronger plan like unlimited meals. Chris Douse, Ivy Tech Fort Wayne’s director of retention and engagement, says this issue is more common in a community college setting.
“Families are saving their money the best way they can,” said Douse. “They’re coming from a low-income situation. They may not have those resources to buy a lunch here on campus or to pick something up from McDonald’s, because they’re using those resources to survive.”
To help these students facing food insecurity, universities like PFW and Ivy Tech Fort Wayne have stepped in to offer an on-campus food pantry. PFW launched their food pantry four years ago, serving students, staff and other members in the community. Manor estimates about the on-campus pantry serves about 4,000 people a year.
PFW accepts donations year-round for their food pantry. To learn how to donate items or provide a monetary donation, visit the PFW pantry’s website.
Ivy Tech Fort Wayne also offers their own food assistance services. New this year to the Fort Wayne campus is a sharing shelf that will offer food and other necessities like school supplies and clothing. Students can also benefit from a virtual food pantry, where the school offers gift cards.
Finally, Ivy Tech Fort Wayne students offers a service known as IvyAssist. Students can search for nearby organizations who provide services like food assistance, housing needs and transportation.
To learn about the food and housing assistance services offered at Ivy Tech, click here.