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The Rocky Mountain Collegian

The Student News Site of Colorado State University

The Rocky Mountain Collegian

Rams Against Hunger helps those experiencing food insecurity

Rams+Against+Hunger+Food+Pantry

Collegian | Tri Duong

Groceries fill a basket at the Rams Against Hunger Food Pantry Jan. 26, 2022. Produce, baking goods and feminine products are some of the items available there from the Food Bank for Larimer County.

Natalie Devereaux

Rebekah Barry, Staff Reporter

Editor’s Note: Read the Spanish version of this article here.

Colorado State University is filled with an array of students and faculty from different backgrounds. For those experiencing food insecurity or needing a little extra help, Rams Against Hunger is there.

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RAH is sponsored and run by the Student Leadership, Involvement and Community Engagement. This program is open to faculty, staff and students alike. Their goal is to show that Rams take care of Rams at CSU, no matter their background or what struggles they may be experiencing.

RAH is a program that allows everyone in the CSU community to take what they need for free. This program thrives from the support and donations of those in the community and seeks to help people thrive while at CSU. They believe basic needs and financial struggles should not be a hindrance to those pursuing a path of education or a degree.  

The program was started by Jen Johnson, director of SLiCE. She came up with the idea in 2015 when she heard about the Swipe Out Hunger project students in California started. The RAH Mobile Food Pantry started at CSU in 2017. The actual food pantry opened Jan. 29, 2022, in the General Services Building.

Shipment days are fun, probably the busiest day we have. They bring in two to three pallets, and we’ll unload them. A lot of the time is spent sorting through the food and putting it out. That’s pretty much what every day consists of.” –Lauren Hallmark, Rams Against Hunger food pantry employee and CSU student

According to RAH’s website, three out of 10 students experience food insecurity at CSU. That’s why they work to provide students with food, even for those that cannot come to campus due to disabilities or other obstacles. Another resource RAH provides is the Meal Swipe Program. If a student meets the criteria, they will be provided with meal swipes they can use at any on-campus dining hall.

“We raise funds and money that all goes to the Food Bank for Larimer County, and in return, the food bank is our supplier,” said Michael Buttram, the program manager for basic needs.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is a federally funded program and is not affiliated with CSU. However, this program is a great resource any student or faculty member can use.

“Consider SNAP a part of your federal aid package,” Buttram said. “The best way to apply for SNAP is to utilize our case management services here. They will walk you through the SNAP process and make it a million times easier because it’s a daunting federal program.” 

Inside the RAH food pantry, there are several moving parts.

Shipment days are fun, probably the busiest day we have,” said Lauren Hallmark, a junior at CSU in business administration. She started working at the pantry at the beginning of last semester. “They bring in two to three pallets, and we’ll unload them. A lot of the time is spent sorting through the food and putting it out. That’s pretty much what every day consists of.” 

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RamRide partners with the food pantry to deliver boxes to those who cannot get to the pantry or have disabilities.

We make boxes for this group of people that vary week by week through requests,” said Mario Righi, a fourth-year business administration major with a minor in Spanish. “Maybe they can’t come to campus or maybe they cannot come during the hours we are open. We might not be open during everyone’s schedule.”

Righi was introduced to the pantry by a friend who worked there previously. 

Aidan Knaus, a fourth-year economics and political science major, recounted a story from his time working at the food pantry.

One week we got a giant wheel of cheese,” Knaus said. “We weren’t allowed to cut it up and parcel it out because we don’t have the certification for that. So we just had this gigantic cheese.”

Since the food pantry opened a little over a year ago, it is fairly new.

“We are building this program as we go,” Buttram said.

Reach Rebekah Barry at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @csucollegian.

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