CSU opening new food pantry to fight food insecurity

Rams Against Hunger

The Rams Against Hunger team unloads a truck in preparation for the opening of the new Rams Against Hunger Pantry in the General Services Building. The grand unveiling of the new pantry is scheduled for Jan. 29. Photo courtesy of University Advancement Engagement

Colorado State University is opening a new food pantry to help support students, faculty and staff experiencing food insecurity.

The new Rams Against Hunger Pantry, located in the General Services Building on South Mason Street, is hosting a grand opening celebration on Saturday, Jan. 29, at 1 p.m. Registration is required at col.st/z2QwZ to attend the event. The festivities will include remarks from President Joyce McConnell, Vice President of Student Affairs Blanche Hughes and CEO of the Food Bank for Larimer County Amy Pezzani.

The new pantry will offer a “client-choice shopping experience,” similar to a grocery store, according to Michael Buttram, who serves as the basic needs program manager for CSU’s Student Leadership, Involvement, and Community Engagement (SLiCE) office. In the past, pantry clients received prepacked boxes due to COVID restrictions. The RAH Pantry then converted to a client choice model in a temporary space in the Lory Student Center but with limited selection based on the space available.

“We will now have what feels more like a true grocery shopping experience,” Buttram said. “We anticipate having a selection of frozen foods, fresh produce, milk, eggs and dry and shelf-stable products. People should be able to find foods that are nutritionally adequate and culturally relevant to their needs.”

Buttram added that the new pantry also will serve as a one-stop shop for basic needs services, where people can get information about Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits as well as the Rams Against Hunger Meal Swipe Program. The new location also will have limited free parking available.

According to Hughes, the need for a food pantry became very clear as the pandemic started.

“Rams Against Hunger, the Lory Student Center, and Food Bank for Larimer County did a wonderful job establishing a temporary pantry virtually overnight in Spring 2020, and now, through the support and advocacy of so many students, employees and generous donors, we have a permanent location to support our campus community,” she said.

Rams Against Hunger Pantry ribbon-cutting ceremony

Saturday, Jan. 29
1-2:30 p.m.
Remarks at 1:20 p.m.
General Services Building | Rams Against Hunger Pantry
1251 S. Mason St. | Fort Collins, CO 80521

Register: advancing.colostate.edu/EVENTS/RAHFOODPANTRYOPENING

Buttram explained that the food is sourced through the Food Bank for Larimer County. Rams Against Hunger is a partner of the Food Bank for Larimer County, which provides food to an estimated 37,500 people in need through community partnerships and hunger-relief programs.

Currently, the pantry in the LSC serves 250-300 people per week, Buttram said, adding that he expects that number to increase with the new food pantry.

Rams Against Hunger

Staff is currently putting the finishing touches on the new pantry, which will offer a “client-choice shopping experience,” similar to a grocery store. Photos courtesy of University Advancement Engagement

The new food pantry, which began to be constructed in August 2021, is just the latest in a multi-pronged approach by Rams Against Hunger to combat food insecurity at CSU.

Operating from the SLiCE Office, Rams Against Hunger offers a menu of services that support students, faculty and staff.

These include the Rams Against Hunger Meal Swipe Program, which allows eligible students to apply for 60 meal swipes that can be used at any CSU dining hall, as well as the Pocket Pantries located across campus for students to grab quick meals and snacks.

Buttram explained that the new pantry will also help to enhance the Ram Food Recovery program, which supports CSU students and employees experiencing food insecurity by sending text alerts for food left over from catered events within Housing & Dining Services and the Lory Student Center. The new pantry will allow them to package and refrigerate those meals.

All of these efforts play an important role in student success, Buttram said.

“It’s hard to concentrate on your classes and show up for extracurriculars when your basic needs aren’t being met,” he said. “You have the stress and mental fatigue that comes with worrying about your next meal. Rams Against Hunger is here to meet our student, staff and faculty needs in ways that affirm the dignity of and strengthen the Ram Community.”

Rams Against Hunger Pantry hours

 The new Rams Against Hunger Pantry will have expanded hours:

Monday, Wednesday, Thursday: 3-6 p.m.

Tuesday: 9 a.m. to noon

Learn more by visiting lsc.colostate.edu/slice/community-engagement/rams-against-hunger.