Colorado Northwestern Community College food pantry curbs hunger on campus | CraigDailyPress.com

Colorado Northwestern Community College food pantry curbs hunger on campus

The Student Pantry at CNCC’s Craig Campus has plenty of ramen noodles, but they could use more single, serve and high protein non-perishable food to help students make ends meet. Pictured: Student Government Secretary and College Sophomore Sara Petree believes that the service is especially helpful for students new to the Craig area.

College students face many challenges, but getting enough to eat doesn't have to be one of them.

CNCC's Student Pantry has offered free food to college students for the past two years.

"It's a program that grew organically because we needed it and we have people who have cared," said Director of Student Support Jennifer Holloway.

Students who forgot to bring a lunch or are short of funds may seek help directly from Holloway or from the Student Government Offices or by speaking to someone at the front desk at the CNCC Academic Building, 2801 W 9th St., Craig.

The College and University Food Bank Alliance, the National Student Campaign Against Hunger and Homelessness, the Student Government Resource Center, and the Student Public Interest Research Groups surveyed college students in 2016 to better understand hunger on campus.

The study found:

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• Food insecurity was reported by 48 percent of students. About half of those qualified as going hungry.

• Food insecurity occurs at both two-year and four-year institutions.

• Food insecurity is a problem even for students who are employed, participate in a campus meal plan, or seek other financial or material help.

• Students experiencing food insecurity often also suffer from housing insecurity, such as difficulty paying the rent, mortgage, or utility bills.

• Housing insecurity is greatest at community colleges.

• Students reported that problems securing food or housing resulted in missed classes, dropped classes and prevented them from buying textbooks.

"It all goes along with the cost of education," said Moffat County College Board Member Lois Wymore. " Most of our students, whether they are traditional or nontraditional, have to work as well. It's really difficult to make ends meet."

Student Government Secretary and College Sophomore Sara Petree thinks the pantry is important.

"I think the students that have come here from other places may struggle to get nourishing food," she said.

Students are able to receive two kinds of help: food to feed their households and/or a meal while on campus.

The college doesn't keep records on who uses the service to encourage any student in need to seek help. They also fill red bags of food an leave them outside of the Student Government offices so that students don't have to ask to grab a bag of food.

"Our students are overwhelmingly appreciative. Once they are settled and everything is OK, they are some of our biggest donors," said Administrative Assistant II Carol Sharp.

The college keeps the panty — a storage cupboard at the academic building — filled by holding food drives a few times a year.

"At the end of each semester, before finals, instructors often give students extra credit for bringing in food," said Craig Campus Student Life Coordinator Barry Steadman.

A food drive is underway now to prepare for the increased demand from students at the start of the fall semester. Non-perishable food items can be taken to the college academic building.

"We offer hope for people trying to get our of poverty. We are one of the most tangible ways to fight poverty," said Holloway. "This is there way out."

Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com.

To donate

The Student Government at CNCC welcomes donations of non-perishable foods and supplies to help keep the food pantry shelves stocked at the Craig campus.

Suggested items to donate:

High protein foods such as peanut butter, tuna, chicken, beans protein bars, drinks and peanut butter crackers. Soups and chili.

Hamburger Helper or other noodle meals.

Trail mix

Fruit cups

Single serve mac and cheese or other single serve foods

Products:

shampoo

soap

toilet paper

hygiene products

tooth brushes

tooth paste

diapers

bowls

fuel cards are also helpful for students that have to commute to the college

They do not need:

ramen noodles

rice

canned corn

peas

Excess food is regularly donated to area food banks and human service organizations.

For more information, call 970-824-1103 or email jennifer.holloway@cncc.edu.