Day of Giving collects thousands of meals

Serena Bettis

In the United States, 1 in 9 people struggle with hunger or food insecurity.  

To help with the constant battle against campus food insecurity, Colorado State University’s Rams Against Hunger program hosted the Day of Giving March 3, allowing students with on-campus meal plans to donate up to two unused guest swipes. 

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“It’s awesome,” said Rocky Railey, a volunteer for the day and executive assistant to the CSU director of Athletics. “The kids are so appreciative, just so glad to do it.”

CSU students are no strangers to food insecurity, and CSU provides multiple programs for students who face these issues on a regular basis, including the monthly Mobile Food Pantry, Rams Against Hunger’s many resources and the newly-launched Food Ops program within RamRide. 

Mike Buttram, the program coordinator for community engagement in the Student Leadership, Involvement and Community Engagement office, said that last semester they raised 2,400 meals through the single-day effort, which is in its fourth consecutive semester. 

When students head to the dining halls for lunch and dinner on the Day of Giving, they are met by volunteers asking if they would like to donate swipes. All the students need to do is hand their RamCard to the volunteers, who swipe the meals into the system using a card reader.

Right now there are about 300 students who remain on the waiting list, and this effort, the Day of Giving, is meant to offset as many of those meals that we possibly can.” -Mike Buttram, SLiCE program coordinator for community engagement

Residential Dining customer service representative Nicole Guild said that, as of now, the donation system is only set up for on-campus student guest swipes. 

“Having more students donate for off-campus affects our yearly budget, and so in order to keep our yearly budget in line, we need to just do the guest meal swipes for now,” Guild said. 

Buttram said the meals donated March 3 will go toward the Rams Against Hunger Meal Swipe Program

Colorado State University students and Rams Against Hunger volunteers Caitlyn Chudzinski and Chastity Polland swipe students’ RamCards to donate guest swipes to Rams Against Hunger on the Day of Giving at the Durrell Center March 3. (Serena Bettis | The Collegian)

“Our Meal Swipe Program serves about 350 students this semester,” Buttram said. “It allocates 75 meals loaded on a RamCard to students who are experiencing very high levels of food insecurity. Right now there are about 300 students who remain on the waiting list, and this effort, the Day of Giving, is meant to offset as many of those meals that we possibly can.”

Buttram said Rams Against Hunger raised $250,000 through the Development office last semester, but their funding still falls short of the number of students eligible for the Meal Swipe Program. 

Although the Day of Giving is the only chance students have to donate unused meal swipes, Buttram said Rams Against Hunger always accepts monetary donations

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“To donate money to the Rams Against Hunger fund through the Development office is something that anybody can do at any time, and it is greatly appreciated,” Buttram said. “Small amounts go a long way when a lot of people contribute. If we could develop a cadre of 1,000 students giving 10 bucks, we are moving the needle far forward.”

Serena Bettis can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @serenaroseb.