Ramen for dinner five nights a week sounds like an apt description of a college diet, but many members of the CSU community don’t have a choice in the matter.
According to a study conducted by Director of SLiCE Pam Norris, about 880 people out of 4,500 have some kind of food insecurity in the CSU community.
In an effort to help CSU students, faculty and staff put food in their cabinets, two women with only a few ties to the campus are starting plans for an on campus food pantry. Ginger Graham, Athletic Director Jack Graham’s wife, and Susan Stoltz are working together with CSU to implement a program that could impact many.
“We’ve yet to have a meeting where tearing up wasn’t involved,” Stoltz said.
There are countless reasons a person might need extra assistance and many can’t make it to the Larimer Food Bank, sometimes becasue of issues like timing with classes, work or not having transportation.
Stoltz and Graham are both committed to creating an on-campus food pantry, now they are just questioning how.
CSU already established commitment to helping those with food insecurities, sponsoring programs like Cans Around the Oval and class-run food drives. According to Graham, this is the next step.
“We just need to get our hands around a way to make it more accessible to the students (and staff) that need the help,” Graham said.
Graham and Stoltz were both on an advisory board for the University of Arkansas, which is one of about 25 schools across the country with a food pantry. Because of many similarities between CSU’s community and that in Arkansas, Graham and Stoltz have an example to reference.
“The two of us as volunteers can’t pull this off,” said Graham. “It really needs to be owned by the students and we need to find people who are passionate about this topic. The magic of it is, to me, that there are students that feel as strongly as we do.”
CSU nutrition and food and science sophomore Emily Roderick showed the passion that Graham and Stoltz were looking for.
“I have never done anything like this before, so it’s all new to me,” Roderick said. “I want to help the school and students in any way I can.”
After volunteering at the Larimer food bank and seeing information come out about students and faculty on campus that need help, Roderick saw the need.
“I don’t think they are all able to go out to the food bank and I think it would be nice to have a location closer for them to go to,” Roderick said.
While Graham and Stoltz received support from the CSU administration, SLiCE and ASCSU, there are still people on campus who would like to see at least one more step before implementing an on-campus pantry.
“Our community is not informed of resources that are already out there. It’s not clear that we are ready for a food pantry,” Norris said. “But it is clear that we need to create an education experience to inform.”
CSU is a community that will support something like an on-campus food pantry, according to Roderick. All that is needed is a location and a lot of helping hands.
According to Graham, Whitney Henderson, president of the CSU Student-Athlete Advisory committee (SAAC), has expressed interest in being more involved with campus, especially with the food pantry.
“It would put some man power behind this,” Stoltz said.
Once all the plans are in place, the on-campus food pantry would run like a little grocery store, which means it would need all the work that goes into a store – unloading delivery trucks, stocking shelves, bagging groceries, keeping inventory and following a budget.
So far, this idea is just in planning stages, but Graham and Stoltz said they would like to make this a reality by spring of 2014 so the students who are involved with it now can see it come to fruition before they graduate.
“Everywhere we’ve been there’s been a lot of support,” Graham said, “Now, we just have to bring it together.”
Collegian Senior Reporter Corrie Sahling can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.