Western Hub of Living Essentials (WHOLE)
The AS Western Hub of Living Essentials (WHOLE) provides free food, as well as toiletries to Western students experiencing food insecurity and who need hygiene products. Coordinated by the A.S. Student Advocacy and Identity Resource Centers (SAIRC), WHOLE also provides educational information and raises awareness on issues surrounding basic needs insecurity.
- Location: Viking Union (VU) 435
- Hours: Same as the Viking Union's hours of operation
- No ID required, no questions asked
How can students access WHOLE?
Located in Viking Union, room 435, WHOLE’s hours of operation are the same as the Viking Union. WHOLE operates as a self-service, food and toiletries pantry, where students can grab the items they need without needing to provide personal information, identification, or “proof” of their need, which can be barriers to those in need of resources. Students are encouraged to bring their own bags in order to order to reduce waste, but if needed, paper bags are available for use.
How to help support WHOLE:
- VikingFunder: Help WHOLE purchase food and hygiene products that are not regularly received by donations by contributing to our Viking Funder.
- Donate food items and toiletries: If you pick up extra food and hygiene products, you can directly donate them to WHOLE by dropping them off at the WHOLE’s donation bin, which is located on the 6th floor of the Viking Union. If you would like to coordinate donating food items that are perishable, please contact WHOLE. We cannot accept donations that are expired or opened, therefore, please do not donate them.
- Host a food drive: Unexpired, non-perishable food items and toiletries are accepted. We can send you a template with the logo, and you just input your dates! After the food drive is complete, contact us in order to coordinate WHOLE receiving what was donated.
- Event admission: Hosting an event? Encourage all attendees to bring two cans of food for entry or a discount for entry. Please contact us if you would like to coordinate this!
Off-Campus Food Access
The Bellingham Food Bank serves as a hub, connecting neighbors and emergency food providers with a steady supply of nutritious groceries, fresh food, and a smile. Whatcom Transportation Authority (WTA) has created a resource that details which bus routes go to food bank locations. For additional Whatcom County Food Bank information, please check out:
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), called Basic Food in Washington, helps people with a low income through monthly benefits to purchase food. You can apply for benefits online through Washington Connection, or call Opportunity Council at (360)-734-5121 to schedule an application appointment. For more guidance, please check out this application and eligibility resource.
SNAP Market Match, a program previously known as Fresh Bucks, matches Basic Food benefits (SNAP/EBT/Food Stamps) dollar-for-dollar for up to $10 in fresh produce per shopper per day. To get Market Match, you must already have Basic Food benefits. In Whatcom County, SNAP Market Match is available only at the Bellingham Farmers Markets.
The Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) provides the following services for eligible pregnant and breastfeeding women, new mothers, and children under 5 (including foster children and those living with relatives):
- Personalized nutrition and health education for pregnancy and beyond, including information about meal planning and feeding young children;
- Breastfeeding support and resources, including breast pumps;
- Access to certified Registered Dietitians (RDs) and certified lactation consultants (IBCLCs) for targeted nutrition and breastfeeding support;
- Food checks to use at your local grocery store for purchasing healthy foods;
- Health screenings and help finding health care, parenting support, child development programs, and social services.