Wayne State students can anonymously help each other or receive help, thanks to the Warrior Meal Share Program.
The program allows students with meal plans to donate their extra guest meals. Those meals are loaded onto cards, which are available for students in need and facing food insecurity.
“I think it's a really successful program because students are helping other students,” said Audra Forsberg, director of the OneCard and Parking Service Center and contract services at Wayne State. “It’s anonymous, which is really good. Sometimes students don’t want to come forward and ask friends for help, or sometimes a student wants to help but there’s some awkwardness with offering to help. With this, students donate and privacy is protected because students can be anonymous when they pick up the card. You might be donating to your roommate or a friend, but you would never know. I think that's a big reason why it's been successful. But I also think students want to feel good about helping other students, and this gives them the opportunity to do so.”
Kenya Maxey, who is the student basic needs coordinator in the Dean of Students Office and helps run The W Pantry and Thrift Shop, said students face food scarcity for a variety of reasons, many of which are unexpected.
“Sometimes we have students who have interesting housing situations, where all of a sudden they get kicked out or have to leave abruptly and find someplace safe. In those situations, food is not always their top concern,” Maxey said. “We’ve had several cases like that and we have a number of resources to help those students; having meal cards to give them has helped. They can go to the dining hall to eat and blend in as just another student, and maybe not worry about the issues they are having in that moment.”
Students interested in applying for the program can complete a form at go.wayne.edu/request-a-meal or visit the W Food Pantry.
Students interested in sharing meal swipes can complete a form at go.wayne.edu/donate-a-meal.
“It doesn’t work if students don’t donate their meal swipes,” Maxey said. “The students who are using these meal swipes are so appreciative; some of them are in disbelief like, ‘Wait, I just get to take this?’ There’s the saying that nothing in life is free; well, this is. That’s why I’m so appreciative of the students donating. They are doing something really selfless, that in no way can be repaid. It really just shows the whole community coming together.”
Forsberg agrees that the Warrior Meal Share Program is not possible without donations. That’s why she promoting the program both to students who can donate and students who are in need.
“It’s a really great partnership between Housing, Dining, the W Food Pantry, DOSO and the OneCard Office,” Forsberg said. “We are trying to get the word out to students and to faculty and staff so they can let students know. We want to help as many students as possible. This is a great program, so we want everyone to take advantage.”