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Holiday food resources for students in need

Andrew Kish
Photo of Grace Schneider, Cecilia Record and Paige Winkle filling the holiday boxes and bags at the Falcon Food Pantry.

Over 33.8 million people in America, 1.3 million people in Ohio and 14,000 people in Wood County experience food insecurity, according to Feeding America. 

With holidays such as Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas and Kwanzaa approaching, many resources are available to those in need in the Bowling Green area.


Thanksgiving with the Falcon Food Pantry 

Falcon Food Pantry is a food resource on the campus of Bowling Green State University (BGSU). After opening in Central Hall in February 2022, the pantry continues to serve students, staff and faculty in need.

Dr. Shannon Orr, the pantry’s director, said she saw a need for the pantry after students were facing trouble accessing food.

“As a professor, I could see that we had students who would run into unexpectedly tough times,” she said. “Food insecurity might happen because of an unexpected expense like a car repair, not having family support or having to miss work because of being sick.”

In addition, she said food insecurity affects many people, such as college students.

“Food insecurity is a national issue for students because, on average, 30% of students across the United States report experiencing food insecurity,” she said.

Orr also said the pantry serves approximately 1,000 students each month, and all students are welcome, even if they have not utilized the resource before.

“Every student is welcome at the Falcon Food Pantry,” she said. 

With Thanksgiving approaching, many food banks and pantries in the area will be providing Thanksgiving-themed resources, including the Falcon Food Pantry. 

“This Thanksgiving we will have holiday food boxes available to help students celebrate the holiday,” said Orr. “Each box contains a complete holiday meal with traditional favorites like stuffing and mashed potatoes, and there’s even a centerpiece.”

Even if a student does not celebrate the holiday, Orr still encourages students to partake in some of the fun.

“We encourage international students to sign up for a box so they can experience an American tradition,” she said.

The Falcon Food Pantry is open Mondays and Thursdays from noon to 3 p.m., and Wednesdays from 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

However, Orr said if anyone needs assistance outside of these hours, there are always emergency food bags available at the checkout desk inside the Jerome Library.

While the Falcon Food Pantry may be just one resource available in Bowling Green, there are others available as well.

St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry

St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry, located at St. Thomas More University Parish, 425 Thurstin St., is one of them.

Linda Kuns is one of the pantry’s co-chairs. Despite volunteering for many years, she still finds joy in helping others. 

“I have been involved with the food pantry for 10 years and I feel it is my way to give back to our community,” said Kuns. “I especially enjoy treating the little ones who come with their parents to a box of fun cereal like Trix or Fruity Pebbles.”

Kuns said the pantry’s main focus is food insecurity in Wood County.

From June through September, the pantry provided food and toiletries to 131 households for a total of 395 individuals.

“There are people who live in Wood County who experience food insecurity. With our ministry, we strive to provide some of the food these people need,” she said.

Kuns said they purchase their supply of food locally but also rely on volunteers to provide items as well.

“We obtain food and toiletries from Toledo food banks and shop locally,” she said. “We also request specific food and toiletry items from our parishioners.”

In addition to parishioner volunteers, BGSU students volunteer more than 200 service hours throughout the academic year, she said.

With their help, the pantry is able to provide multiple meals to each person who may need assistance.

“We package the food to provide five meals, along with any extra food items we may have in our pantry,” said Kuns.

The St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry is open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to noon, and Wednesdays from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Kuns said all Wood County residents and BGSU students are welcome at the pantry. Both said they are available to serve the community in whatever way they can.

Kuns and Orr ensure visitors will be taken care of, one meal at a time.

“When students go through tough times, we are there to help,” said Orr.

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