COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - September is Hunger Action Month, and the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs is making sure its students have more access to healthy foods.
Clyde’s Cupboard is an on-campus food pantry. It started as a class project in 2013. Now, it’s open every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Students can stop by once a week and pick out around eight food or snack items.
“We just want to make sure that we’re doing something to help those students with those issues around food insecurity because we understand when it comes to not being able to eat, they won’t be able to focus and if they can’t focus, they can’t be successful while they’re here at UCCS,” said Ray Fisco, the prevention and outreach manager for the Dean of Students office.
According to a recent campus survey, about 25 percent of students at UCCS said they struggled with food insecurity.
“Food insecurity doesn’t mean that you never have food. It means that you don’t have enough food or you don’t know where your next meal is coming from, and that’s a scary place to be,” said Lynne Telford, CEO of Care and Share Food Bank.
According to Care and Share, about 40 million Americans are food insecure. In southern Colorado, the food bank says about one in eight people don’t always know the next time they’ll eat.
“People who don’t have enough food to eat can’t think about anything but where they’re going to get their next meal, how they’re going to fill their stomach,” Telford said. “So it’s hard to think about school or work or homework or any of the things that we need to do to lead a productive life. If you’re hungry, you just can’t manage to think about anything else.”
New this year, Clyde’s Cupboard will be open one Friday a month for “Fresh Food Friday.”
“We were able to secure a grant in order to purchase this fridge. So students are able to come once a month and grab a few fresh items because those who are food insecure don’t necessarily have the resources to go out and go to King Soopers and get lettuce or peppers or things like that. It’s not on their priority list, so we really want to make sure we provide access to healthy, fresh resources to them,” said Carlie Snethen, a graduate assistant for the Dean of Students office.
The pantry is also teaming up with Dining Services to offer more meal vouchers. Students can sign up to get a free meal at a campus dining hall.
“If students aren’t able to fulfill those basic needs of being able to stay full and they aren’t going to be hungry while they’re in class, then it can be really challenging for them to succeed,” Snethen said.
The pantry already sets up mobile sites around campus some days, but Snethen is also working to set up a permanent satellite location at the Wellness Center.
“We have a large campus, so we understand sometimes coming all the way to Student Life can be challenging for those who have really busy schedules,” Snethen said. “So we’re really trying to establish that resource across the board that way students can get access to these wherever they are on campus.”
Most of the food available at the pantry has been donated or bought with money from donations. Anyone can donate and find out more information about the pantry by calling 719-255-3829.