A recent Eastern grad is providing a feed for those in need.
More than a third of Eastern undergraduates reported being “food insecure” during the previous academic year. Arick Erechar, ’18, knows we can do more to help. The veteran of the Eastern Cheer Squad is now using his abundant energy to lead a team of student volunteers at the EWU Food Pantries, a series of drop-in depositories for those in need.
How is food insecurity defined, and how prevalent is it among students at Eastern?
Food insecurity is about not having access to healthy and affordable food. An estimated 36 percent of EWU students are food insecure.
What are some of the reasons students might struggle to obtain adequate nutrition?
Often it’s a lack of adequate financial support. Other students tell us they don’t know how to budget their money, or how to cook their own nutritious food. Many rely too much on expensive, unhealthy fast food. My sense is that students often don’t know how to start eating better because no one showed them where to begin.
How do EWU Food Pantries help?
The EWU Food Pantries help by providing an array of food options for students to choose from. The pantries are always accessible as long as the building is open, which enables students to go when they want.
How did you become involved?
By becoming an AmeriCorps VISTA worker. Helping the community and others has always been a motivation for me, so AmeriCorps was something that I wanted to become a part of — especially since this position enables me to be involved with helping the community that I live in.
Going forward, what can we do to ensure that all of our neighbors — and young people in particular — have permanent access to nutritious food?
Providing support for programs that help alleviate hunger is one of the best things that we as a community can do. Hunger is not a simple problem to fix. It takes time, but it can be accomplished if we all work together to make it happen.
What about you personally? What are your plans after your service is completed?
After my service is done, I plan on either getting my teaching certificate or master’s degree in education so that I can teach at a public school. My goal is to one day become the superintendent of a school district in Washington.
Want to help? Nonperishable, shelf-stable food items, toiletries and, especially, personal hygiene products are always needed. Call 509.359.6255 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.