There is no shame in using services like food pantries

Lilliana Miranda, Staff Writer

There is a stigma or a misconception regarding food pantries or services such as food share. The decision to visit a food pantry or to seek food share assistance can be difficult and some may feel it is embarrassing, causing many students to not seek the assistance they need. But there is no shame in using these services when you need them.  

The assumption that people who use food pantries are homeless or unemployed is just not true. Food pantries serve everyone who is in need, whether you are unemployed or employed.  

Food share services do require proof of employment, but they have programs available to help you get one if you’re not employed. Regardless of that, there is nothing to be ashamed of in seeking help when you need it.  

People also assume that food pantries only carry pre-packaged boxes of canned goods, but that is not the case. Food pantries provide perishable and non-perishable goods. If you are worried about nutrition and health, I am here to tell you that Foodshare Wisconsin was created to help people who are struggling financially buy the food they need to stay healthy. 

We live in one of the wealthiest countries in the world with a history of giving to those in need. Food pantries and food share services are here to feed and help us and our families. Especially now that we have all had to deal with COVID-19 pandemic, many have lost their jobs and prices have gone up on everything.  

If you are in need, why be ashamed? Can you imagine not living in the U.S. and not having these services? And here we are not taking advantage of them because we are ashamed of what others may think.  

We are students, and I believe it is our duty to ask for help when it is needed.  

Another assumption out there is that food pantries only provide food. That may be true for some, but there are many food pantries out there that provide school supplies, personal care products and services such as job training and continuing education.  

Food share assistance helps with food, health insurance, electricity bills and more. I do not know about you but being a student and paying rent and utilities leaves me with almost nothing. So, as a student who is proud to admit I receive food share benefits, I am here to tell you that it has helped me so much and has taken so much stress out of my life. 

These services are there for those who need it. Use it, and do not feel ashamed. You are a worthy member of the community. In life, we have setbacks; we all struggle. These services are here to help you get back on your feet.  

Please take advantage of these services, and when you graduate and get a decent job and no longer need these services pay it forward by donating or volunteering your time at a local food bank.