Brayden Carlson, Guest Writer
Hidden within the Student Life Offices here on Wartburg’s campus is St. Elizabeth’s Breadbasket. A food resource available to all students on Wartburg’s campus during all breaks including over the summer.
St. Elizabeth’s Breadbasket was started during the difficult and abrupt breaks due to Covid-19; it was obvious that there was a need for students to be able to get food during breaks. Jennifer Onuigbo, the woman responsible for pulling on the loose thread and creating St. Elizabeth’s Breadbasket saw a need and worked to fill it.
“We realized there was a need and some students who stayed over breaks like international students,” said Onuigbo “We realized there was no food on campus for them. It started with peanut butter crackers and people started depending on it.”
St. Elizabeth’s Breadbasket is free to students to use over academic breaks, there is a wide variety of food and just recently was able to start stocking a fridge and freezer with meat, and different assortments of perishables.
“We have a refrigerator and a freezer now, so we have chicken and ground beef, frozen pizza, milk, eggs, and yogurt,” said Onuigbo. “We also have an assortment of nonperishables like soups, along with perishables like bread, fruit, and vegetables.”
Thanks to Tammy Fox, St. Elizabeth’s Breadbasket was able to pair with Northeast Iowa Food Bank. This partnership has enabled the food being distributed to the students to be cost effective and easy to obtain. The food is free of charge to students, however.
St. Elizabeth’s Breadbasket served over 150 students and over 2000 pounds of food over the 2021-2022 Winter-Break. The resource is easy to access and there are no questions asked. Students just sign their name and record what they are taking.
“For the students we would like them to know that at any time they experience food insecurity we always have stuff in stock,” said Onuigbo. “They should not be embarrassed. We do not want anyone hungry on our campus, food is a basic need.”
Joanna Longwe, a Wartburg Ambassador, and a Wartburg Student Success Peer Coach, is a third year-student here at Wartburg. She loves the St. Elizabeth Breadbasket initiative and what it provides.
“I think the St Elizabeth’s Breadbasket has been crucial for me and many others over the breaks,” said Longwe. “I do not have a car on campus, and at times the weather is too cold to walk to the grocery store, so it has been helpful to have the breadbasket available.”
Longwe also works in the Student Center and helps stock the breadbasket, seeing bits effect on student and living it.
“As part of my job at the Student Success Center, I sometimes help with restocking the breadbasket and receiving donations of food,” said Longwe. “It is heartwarming to see contributions come in from professors, staff on campus, and even the wider Wartburg community.”
St. Elizabeth’s Breadbasket is always accepting monetary donations to help fund the purchase of food. People’s donations go a long way thanks to the partnership with Northeast Iowa Food Bank
At the date of this story’s publication according to Onuigbo, St. Elizabeth Breadbasket is exploring a second partnership with Wartburg Dining Services, to help eliminate food waste on campus and provide another resource for students on campus experiencing food insecurity.