September 1, 2021

The W Food Pantry expands to offer Warrior Wardrobe

Student Dejon Christian organizes gently used clothing at the new Warrior Wardrobe.

Campus resource hub now offers free support services, food, clothing, housewares and more

Success in the classroom is grounded in student well-being, and Wayne State University is committed to providing resources to support students inside and outside of the classroom — and now, from head to toe. The W Food Pantry will further expand its services this fall to include the Warrior Wardrobe, which will offer gently used clothing free of charge to all currently enrolled students.

The W Food Pantry and Wardrobe will launch Sept. 1 and will offer students in need gently used casual and career clothing, shoes, and accessories. Currently enrolled students are invited to visit the Warrior Wardrobe twice per semester, where they can select up to 20 items per visit. A fitting room will be available. Students are also invited to visit The W for food and other items once every two weeks. The W Food Pantry and Wardrobe, located in the heart of campus at 703 W. Kirby, will be open Monday through Thursday from 2 to 7 p.m. for the fall semester.

Currently enrolled students can visit the Warrior Wardrobe for casual and career clothing.

“Whether a student is in need of a meal, a winter coat or attire for a job interview, we want to support them,” said Rainesha Williams-Fox, coordinator of student life wellness, who manages The W Food Pantry and Wardrobe. “Meeting students’ basic needs, whatever those might be, helps them feel confident and enables them to be the best version of themselves — in the classroom and in life. We’re excited to be able to expand our services and continue supporting student success.”

While designed with addressing students’ needs in mind, the Warrior Wardrobe also seeks to help students feel comfortable and build confidence. Students are encouraged to stop by The W Food Pantry and Wardrobe for consultation on dressing for success and expressing themselves.

“Choosing clothing can be a daunting task for anyone, whether you’re preparing for a job interview or finding an everyday outfit. The W is here to help students look and feel their best,” said Williams-Fox. “Everyone needs help and support, and we’re hoping that expanding our services will continue reducing stigma around seeking resources.”

The Warrior Wardrobe was initially a cross-campus effort launched in January 2020 by the Office of Student Financial Aid and Career Services in two separate campus locations, and has since evolved to become part of The W, which has grown as a resource hub on campus since its launch in April 2017.

Members of the Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity Jalavon Walker and Cameron Bolton help organize
housewares and clothing at the new Warrior Wardrobe. 

Made possible through a 2016 university-wide grant to address the needs of homeless or otherwise vulnerable students from the McGregor Fund, The W has distributed 20,000 pounds of food and goods to more than 850 students to date. In just four years, The W has grown to offer students food, nutrition counseling, household items, baby essentials, toiletries and feminine hygiene products, gently used clothing, and access to vital transportation and technology resources. Additionally, through a partnership with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, students have access to a caseworker who can provide information and assistance about state and federal benefits, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, emergency relief, child care assistance and more.

The W has grown as a collaborative effort led by the Dean of Students Office, with support from Housing and Residential Life, the Office of Student Financial Aid and the Welcome Center, the Office of Economic Development, and Computing & Information Technology, among others. The W has also established partnerships with Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeastern Michigan and Forgotten Harvest.

The W is operated by Rainesha Williams-Fox (center) and a team of dedicated volunteers.

The W is operated by a strong network of volunteers and generous donors. To date, The W has welcomed over 100 volunteers who have completed a total of 2,500 hours of work. While supporting their fellow Warriors, student volunteers gain valuable experience often related to coursework in nutrition, business, fashion design and marketing.

“We are grateful for the work of so many partners on campus and in the community with a shared commitment of serving our students. Our diverse students have diverse needs, and we’re excited to be able to expand and adapt to those needs,” said Dean of Students David Strauss. “We know student success goes beyond the classroom, and together we’ve created a community that gives back and takes care of each other — and an environment where all students can feel supported to succeed.”

The W continues to seek volunteers and is always open to donations. For more information about how you can help support The W Food Pantry and Wardrobe, please visit thew.wayne.edu or contact Rainesha Williams-Fox at rai@wayne.edu.

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