The year-end holidays are fast approaching and so is your opportunity to participate in Colorado State University’s Giving Tuesday – the day after Cyber Monday when the emphasis turns from buying to giving. This year’s event is Nov. 30.
For the past five years, the Rams Against Hunger Program has been the focus of CSU’s Giving Tuesday. And for good reason: 1 in 10 CSU students experiences food insecurity. That surprisingly high ratio equates to more than 2,800 students who struggle each year to balance basic needs with their educational aspirations. The biggest culprit is the precipitous increase in the cost of education. When more money goes to tuition, fees, and books, less remains for food and rent.
“This time of year, members of our CSU community have an opportunity to step forward and help our students focus on their studies rather than where their next meal will come from. Your generosity makes a tangible difference in their lives and in their ability to succeed academically,” said Kim Tobin, vice president for University Advancement.
“Every gift, small and large, has an impact, and we’re incredibly grateful to an anonymous donor who has agreed to once again provide a $25,000 matching gift this year – amplifying the positive effect we can have in the lives of CSU students,” Tobin added.
The Meal Swipe Program
The Rams Against Hunger Program began in 2015 in response to the growing problem of food insecurity, which affects students and some faculty and staff as well. The multifaceted program includes food pantries (i.e., one in the Lory Student Center, the new mobile pantry, and several smaller pocket pantries across campus), the Ram Food Recovery Program, and the Meal Swipe Program.
“There is no one face for food insecurity,” said Michael Buttram, the Basic Needs Program manager with the Office of Student Leadership, Involvement and Community Engagement. “We recognize that food insecurity looks different for different students, different families, and we try to address that with a menu of programs.”
This year’s Giving Tuesday is highlighting the Meal Swipe Program, which provides 60 meals per semester on the RamCards of eligible students. Meals cost $9 each.
“There’s a lot of dignity in the program because it gives students meals in a way that looks no different than any other student,” said Buttram. “When we allocate those swipes, students will just automatically have them on their RamCard, and they look like everyone else’s swipes. They can go to the dining halls and have those meals and experience college life in the same way their colleagues are doing. It allows students a lot of freedom to get the foods they want, at the times they want, and to fully participate in their college experience.”
‘This is the best news I’ve had in weeks!!!’
Earlier this fall when Brandon Mckeel, a student earning his master’s degree in social work, received notification that he was receiving meal swipes, he emailed Buttram:
“This is the best news I’ve had in weeks!!! Thank you all so, so much! I can’t properly express how enormous of an impact this has on my current situation. Thank you, thank you! I have been taking advantage of other RAH programs, and I can’t express enough how helpful and kind everyone has been through the process of finding food resources.”
Your gifts make a difference
The Rams Against Hunger Program, and the Meal Swipe Program in particular, relies heavily on donations, especially on Giving Tuesday. “There was a time when we had a waitlist of more than 600 eligible students who were waiting for swipes,” Buttram said. “But through the generosity of so many donors in recent years, we’ve been able to meet all the needs.”
That’s what “Rams take care of Rams” looks like on Giving Tuesday!
To make a gift, please visit the Giving Tuesday website.
If you or someone you know is struggling with food insecurity, visit the Rams Against Hunger webpage to learn more about the program.