Student wants to thank those who fed her hunger

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Donors raised $2,060 for UNO’s Maverick Food Pantry during Omaha Gives!

What’s it like to be hungry?

Jennifer Alquicira, a sophomore at UNO, can tell you.

“Being hungry is just kind of sad,” she says, “because it’s hard to go out so many times, and your stomach’s growling. It makes it harder because sometimes when it happens, I feel judged that way.

“I don’t want to be looked down upon – ‘Oh, look at this girl. Her family doesn’t feed her a lot.'”

Jennifer wants to thank all the people who gave to the Maverick Food Pantry this past May during Omaha Gives! The 24-hour effort raised $2,060 for the pantry, which is located in the heart of the new Barbara Weitz Community Engagement Center at UNO.

Jennifer has used the food pantry to prevent the growling. She’s taken home canned soup, canned fruit and other basic items, she says, that fill her stomach and help her study. During finals week, the food really helped her focus.

Jennifer, an Omaha South High graduate, is the first in her family to go to college. Her major is business administration. She wants to open her own business someday and be a role model to others from her South Omaha neighborhood.

Jennifer comes from a happy home, she says, even though it was low-income. She saw her mom and step-dad work hard and sacrifice.

“My life has always been good.”

She is a Susan Thompson Buffett Scholar at UNO. She’ll never forget the day she came home from work to find that email announcing she’d won it. She told her mom and her aunt right away.

She laughs.

“They were screaming their heads off. They were so happy and proud.

“I am so proud and happy that I won the Buffett Scholarship. Earlier this year, I got the James M. Cox Scholarship. To get these opportunities was the greatest feeling. It made my mom so proud that I don’t have to be scared to go to college and have to pay for all of it.

“It’s great to know that I have people who are taking an interest and investing in my future so that I can be happy in my life.”

And not hungry.

Food insecurity is becoming more evident on college campuses. UNO is no exception. In 2013, UNO created the Maverick Food Pantry, which provides nutritionally balanced food assistance packages to current members of the UNO community who are in need. If you would like to help the pantry, please consider giving online or contact the foundation at 800-432-3216.

If you would like to contribute to the James M. Cox Foundation Endowed Scholarship Fund here at the foundation, you can also give online. The James M. Cox Foundation was created in 1988 through the estate of Mr. Cox, a Hampton, Neb., native and University of Nebraska graduate who had no children of his own, but who was dedicated to helping needy children.

Student Support is one of the priorities of the Campaign for Nebraska, now in its final year.

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