Hannah Michelle Bussa
The lasting impacts of the pandemic have increased food insecurity, and the Maverick Food Pantry is helping to fill the gaps.
Their motto is, “When you need it, take it. When you have it, give it.”
Madeline St. Clair, the Maverick Food Pantry Coordinator, said, “A different way of thinking about this is: ‘If you do not need the resource, be the resource.’”
The Maverick Food Pantry serves the University of Nebraska-Omaha, University of Nebraska Medical Center, College of Saint Mary, students involved in the Avenue Scholars program and UNO faculty and staff.
“Food security looks different for everyone; it is not a one-size fits all,” St. Clair said. “The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the U.S. Department of Agriculture provides models for measuring food security/insecurity. No matter where students land on these two scales, the Maverick Food Pantry is here to help!”
She said the Maverick Food Pantry has a selection of proteins, beans, fruits, vegetables, grains, soups and sauce, baking and cooking supplies, and personal hygiene items.
“Users are able to customize their order through our form twice per week,” she said. “Each order contains ten food items, not including the baking and cooking supplies, which is approximately two days’ worth of non-perishable items. Users with children and/or dependents are given the option to receive more items based on their need.”
The Maverick Food Pantry identifies bags with the user’s initials and birthdate. They also collect the person’s email to communicate. St. Clair said they also collect demographic information to analyze data and find where their gaps of service are.
“The Maverick Food Pantry has always prided itself on the confidentiality and trusting relationships we’ve built with our users,” she said.
Bags can be picked up in the Maverick Food Pantry office on campus in the Barbara Weitz Community Engagement Center, Room 130.
Students, as well as UNO faculty and staff, can fill out this form to order food.
“Users can order twice a week and if two orders are needed, they can be submitted and picked up at the same time,” St. Clair said.
The Maverick Food Pantry also accepts monetary and item donations.
“We accept just about anything and everything when it comes to food items,” St. Clair said. “Please be mindful of expiration dates and damaged foods. For one, those experiencing food insecurity deserve undamaged, fresh food. And secondly, it creates a lot more work for the MFP team to dispose of these items in a sustainable manner. We like to encourage donors to donate some of their favorite food items — be intentional and mindful!”
For more information, email the Maverick Food Pantry at firstname.lastname@example.org.
St. Clair encourages visiting the Maverick Food Pantry on social media as well. They share educational posts about food insecurity.
“Education is one of the best weapons to use on stigmas,” St. Clair said.