Courtesy of PRC Instagram
The coronavirus pandemic has amplified financial and food insecurity issues around the U.S. as people struggle to pay bills and put food on their tables. In an effort to support the Case Western Reserve University community, the Dean of Students Office and campus partners recently collaborated to create a website compiling food insecurity resources. This list includes food pantries located on and off campus, including the Free Little Food Pantry, OMA Food Pantry and more. Additionally, there are also other community resources such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) as well as the CWRU Emergency Fund to support students economically, and both of these resources are available with detailed instruction on the previously hyperlinked food insecurity resources website.
One of the newest resources for students is the Physical Resource Center (PRC), which opened September of 2020 and is located on 11440 Uptown Avenue, next to Mitchell’s Ice Cream. The PRC is a joint initiative by the Undergraduate Student Government, Undergraduate Diversity Collaborative and the Office for Sustainability. Their goal is “to alleviate financial burdens and provide students with numerous resources at low to no cost.”
Last semester, students enjoyed picking out kitchen utensils as they moved in and winter clothes as the weather got colder, though the PRC also has a food pantry, small electronic appliances and numerous other necessities.
How does the PRC work? Students enrolled at CWRU sign up for a 30-minute time slot on the PRC Campus Groups page, show up to their allotted time slot and then select up to five items. The PRC even has special days where students can pick out double the regular number of items. Given COVID-19, however, students signing up will be expected to follow social distancing guidelines, and items received should be washed thoroughly before use.
While currently open to undergraduate and graduate students, the PRC hopes to eventually expand access to other communities as well, according to Sharan Mehta, a third-year undergraduate student and chair of the PRC.
What is unique about the PRC is that it is entirely donation based. Walk-in donations or online contributions are welcome. This enables students to select resources for free. The PRC also works to make sexual or reproductive health products available to students. Last semester, they also worked with Period@CWRU to collect a donation of menstrual health products, including from DivaCup. Moreover, the PRC also has a mission of sustainability, aiming to redirect usable items to students at CWRU. Notably, the center isn’t just for students who are economically disadvantaged; it is an open resource to all students at CWRU.
The PRC will re-open Feb. 25 for the spring semester and is open Thursdays from 4-7 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from 12-4 p.m.