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Fighting food insecurity at UW-Stevens Point

January 26, 2023
Student Amber DeValk, operations coordinator for The Cupboard food pantry at UWSP
Wildlife ecology student Amber DeValk, Kimberly, is the operations coordinator for The Cupboard food pantry at UWSP.

As the spring semester begins and students return to the three University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point campuses, the need for assistance in food, school supplies and other items also returns.

According to Feeding America, 39% of undergraduate students are low income, and nearly 8 million college students across the nation are at risk of facing hunger. This can result in poor physical and mental health, lower grade point averages and depression.

At UW-Stevens Point, students do not have to go hungry. Student visits to The Cupboard, the UW-Stevens Point student food pantry located in the lower level of the Dreyfus University Center, have ranged from nearly 600 to more than 2,400 per academic year since it opened in 2011.

Continuing to meet student needs, The Cupboard is teaming up with two Office of Sustainability programs, The Backpack and The Closet. These programs offer school and hygiene supplies as well as clothing for students who may need assistance throughout the year, while saving items from landfills.

A School Essentials Pop Up Shop will be held for the three programs from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, Jan. 27, in the Dreyfus University Center concourse. Donations and volunteers are needed for these programs. Other promotions are held throughout the year, said Amber DeValk of Kimberly, who serves as operations coordinator for The Cupboard.

“We’re bringing three sustainability programs together to help students be more aware of the services available to them,” said DeValk, a wildlife ecology major.

A Valentine’s Giving Tree project is another way to support the three programs in February. Located at the Campus Activities and Student Engagement (CASE) area in the lower level of the Dreyfus University Center, the tree has ornaments labeled with specific items needed by students. Those donating items by Monday, Feb. 20, will be entered in a prize drawing.

A food drive will also be held at the Pointers women’s basketball game at 7 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 1. The Cupboard is pairing with Allen Fitness Center Feb. 1-7 to host the “Share the Love Food Drive,” with food items accepted at the Allen Center front desk or group exercise studios.

Nonperishable items are also accepted anytime at collection bins outside of The Cupboard, DUC Room 061, DeValk said. The pantry has two refrigerators, so fresh produce and frozen foods are accepted at the CASE front desk.

Among needed products are breakfast foods, such as granola bars, cereal, as well as healthy snacks, rice meals, canned goods, peanut butter, jelly and baking items.

The Cupboard is open to students, 8-4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, or by asking at the CASE desk. Students are encouraged to stop by if they need something for lunch, have a food-shortage week or a more long-term need, said DeValk.

“Use our resources,” she said. “Students don’t need to stress about food or other needs when they should be focusing on their studies and goals.”

Learn more about The Cupboard at or contact DeValk to volunteer or coordinate a food drive at Learn more about The Backpack and the Closet, on the second floor of Nelson Hall, at or email

Food programs at Wausau and Marshfield

The UW-Stevens Point campuses in Wausau and Marshfield also offer food pantries for students who may need assistance.

UWSP at Marshfield food cupboards are in the Aldo Leopold Science Building across from room 127. Students may help themselves to ready-to-eat lunch items and healthy snacks throughout the day. Donations, such as small hygiene items and healthy snacks, are appreciated. Contact The Solution Center at

UWSP at Wausau students can go to The Cupboard, room 167 (the former bookstore), between 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. for non-perishable food items, hygiene items, cooking utensils and a collection of cookbooks and recipes. To learn more or make a donation, contact Janette Baumann,