Josh Salsbury ’20 has been frequently asked “How many of those do you have?” by customers at Western Oregon University’s Food Pantry.
If you think people are asking to see if they can have more of an item, Salsbury said it’s the opposite. Even as the demand for the services have increased, he has seen people’s thoughtfulness remain strong.
“They’re asking to make sure there is enough for everybody,” he said. “As one of the Food Pantry coordinators, it is my goal to make sure that people never need to ask that question again.”
WOU alumni, employees and community members have an opportunity to help Salsbury reach his goal by participating in Howl from Home on May 5. WOU is hosting Howl from Home to virtually bring the community together to participate in Giving Tuesday Now, a global generosity movement to support people impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
While the past few weeks have presented changes and challenges to everyone’s lives, the WOU community has remained consistent in working together to support its students. Funds are being raised for Emergency Student Aid, Hamersly Library’s expanded Computing Check-Out program, Food Pantry and student-athletes.
Emergency Student Aid
The coronavirus (COVID-19) has caused financial hardships for many WOU students, especially those who have lost their jobs.
Emmanuel Macías ’13, the assistant to the vice president for Student Affairs, said the Emergency Student Aid funds can be the difference between a student staying enrolled or withdrawing from WOU.
WOU’s Emergency Student Aid provides WOU students in crisis with the financial support they need for utilities, child care, transportation, medical care and other essentials. Students do not have to worry about paying this support back, only paying it forward when they can.
Computing Check-Out Program
WOU Dean of Library and Academic Innovation Chelle Batchelor conducted a survey of students this winter to inquire about their experience with textbook costs and access to technology. She learned 20% of students lack a stable internet connection and 6% don’t have the adequate technology.
Before COVID-19, the library was already considering options to meet students’ needs. The switch to online learning caused quick action to provide hotspots, phones, iPads and other computing equipment for students.
“Students have thanked us profusely for this essential equipment that has allowed them to transition to remote learning,” Batchelor said.
The need for hotspots and computing equipment won’t go away after COVID-19, she added.
The Food Pantry’s mission is to fight to end hunger in the WOU community by providing access to food and resources that promote health and success. Funds support the pantry’s operations, including purchasing supplies to stock the shelves. The pantry serves all WOU students.
A community coordinator for the Food Pantry, Rachel Bayly ’20 said even with the quarantine, there are opportunities to show love and support to one another.
“The WOU Food Pantry is striving to create a sense of stability for our most vulnerable neighbors and to send the message that we are here in solidarity through these uncertain times,” Bayly said.
The spring season was canceled for WOU baseball, softball and outdoor track and field student-athletes. Receiving a scholarship is often a deciding point for students who are considering taking advantage of the waiver to return for future competition.
WOU softball player Ayanna Arceneaux ’20 said WOU athletes have the upmost appreciation for the scholarships provided by donors, and they show that by working hard on and off the field to make donors and the WOU community proud.
“Even though our season was cut short this year, to have the same or more support for next season would mean so much to us to have another opportunity to show our gratitude and display the extensive training that we do to be able to play the sport we love,” she said.
To donate, visit Howl from Home.