Letter to the Editor: ‘Compassionate and courageous’ Maverick Food Pantry manager placed on administrative leave

  1. Note: This letter is anonymous 
Madeline St. Clair, Maverick Food Pantry manager and October 2023 employee of the month, poses with the honorary certificate gifted to her. St. Clair is now on administrative leave due to circumstances related to the firing of Dustin Wolf, former Director of Student Organizations and Greek Life.

Dear Editor and Maverick Community,

Baskets, paper bags, aisles, food, smiles, compassion. You may think I am describing your local grocery store but this is what you’ll find in suite 106 of the Community Engagement Center where Maverick Food Pantry is located. This office and its services didn’t appear out of thin air, but were the result of years of dedication to combating hunger one person had. The person who has built that food pantry from the ground up deserves recognition, appreciation, and confidence that she will continue to remain the manager for the food pantry. Madeline St. Clair, manager of Maverick Food Pantry has been placed on administrative leave which impacts the day to day operations of the food pantry, affecting hundreds of students.

For those who have never used Maverick Food Pantry services, you simply walk in and fill out a form to request items you need ranging from soup, grains, protein, perishables, diapers, hygiene products, school supplies, and more. You are met with care from Madeline and her student workers. You get your items in a brown paper bag, and then you are on your way.

Students from every demographic you can think of use the pantry. Every college, undergraduate and graduate, students with dependents, first generation students, students of all genders, races, and backgrounds. Over 3,500 orders have been distributed to students since July 1st. I can’t think of a single office at UNO that serves to that magnitude.

I have worked with Madeline and the food pantry team for over a year now in different capacities, most notably with securing the distribution of free parenting, period, and sexual health products,  including a Nebraska Diaper Bank grant that was awarded last academic year to the pantry. She leads with compassion and courage, not fear; something that is rare in the leadership of the Division of Student Life and Wellbeing.

Maverick Community- it is imperative that the Maverick Food Pantry remains open with Madeline as its manager, someone who has built the food pantry up since 2018. Without her, I fear for the harsh realities students on our campus may face when it comes to food insecurity. I call on my fellow students to email their Dean of Students, Cathy Pettid and Assistant Dean of Students, Trent Fredricksen and let them know your thoughts and concerns related to this situation.