Mobile food bank provides food to CSU students, employees

While college students may not be the first group one thinks of when it comes to people going hungry, 10 percent to 15 percent of CSU students are food insecure, meaning they have limited or no access to nutritious foods.

The university has a meal program called Rams Against Hunger, in which 75 donated meal swipes can be used by students experiencing food insecurity. Because of the overwhelming number of applications for Rams Against Hunger and a need for more funding, CSU has begun collaborating with the Food Bank for Larimer County on a mobile food pantry.

The Associated Students of Colorado State University and Student Leadership, Involvement and Community Engagement (SLiCE) have partnered with the Food Bank for Larimer County to bring food to CSU students three times during spring semester. There was a lengthy waitlist of CSU students who applied for the Rams Against Hunger program.

“The meal swipes have been an integral part in making the mobile food pantry happen,” said Jen Johnson, assistant director of SLiCE.

The food bank will be located on University Avenue in front of Sherwood Forest today and on May 4. Anyone with a current CSU ID can go and collect up to 50 pounds of food. Johnson believes that having access to nutritious food is a huge part of a student’s success and experience.

“Eating is a basic human need,” said Johnson. “We are in the business of educating, and we want the best for our students, faculty and staff at CSU.”

Johnson hopes that this mobile food pantry can make regular stops on the CSU campus. And while CSU students will take advantage of the food pantry, the Fort Collins community is also affected by food insecurity. According to the Larimer County Food Bank website, 42,800 residents in Larimer County are food insecure.

Mallory Andrews, a Colorado State University social work student, is overseeing Lights, Camera, Take Action!, a film festival sponsored by FoCo Café, a nonprofit restaurant in Fort Collins. The film festival consists of short films highlighting food insecurity and poverty in Fort Collins. Submissions for the festival are being accepted until April 23.

Andrews is part of the M.S.W program at CSU and her internship work is through FoCo Café, where she had been assisting the director the last seven months.

The festival will be held on May 5 and begins at 6 p.m. in the Behavioral Science Building, Room A101, on the CSU campus.

“Rams take care of rams,” Johnson said. “But hunger is a prevalent issue all throughout Fort Collins and we need to work together to help combat this issue.”