Rams Against Hunger’s Food Pantry providing steady food security

Rams Against Hunger Community Garden: What began as an opportunity for graduate students to learn about farming turned into a crucial resource to fight food insecurity at CSU.

Rams Against Hunger programs continue to ensure food security at a steady pace this year, offering the Colorado State University community with three different ways of support.

The Rams Against Hunger Food Pantry, fully operating from its permanent location in the General Services Building, aided two-thirds of all Rams Against Hunger program users in 2022. About 20% of participants utilized the meal-swipe program in campus dining halls.

The pantry functions through a collaboration with the Food Bank of Larimer County and other partnerships that Michael Buttram —  basic needs program manager for CSU’s SLiCE  (Student Leadership, Involvement & Community Engagement) office —has developed or maintained.

“What we learned is we can all be one job loss, one health incident, or one pandemic away from food insecurity,” Buttram said as he navigated through the store-like layout of the brightly lit pantry. On this day, he was readying the walk-in coolers for a delivery of turkeys in preparation for the fall break.

In 2022, there have been 2,173 unique visitors, each visiting about four times to make up a total of 8,831 visits this year. Most are full-time students, typically undergraduate, and living off campus. Any member of the CSU community is welcome at the Rams Against Hunger Food Pantry – they just need to swipe in with an ID card to help the team track program numbers.

“This is student support in action,” Buttram said. “We’re doing our best to defeat the scarcity mindset. Nobody is taking it from someone who needs it more. There is enough for all members of our community who need the resource.”

Constant deliveries of food, fresh vegetables, hygiene products, milk and – during this moment, a few pallets of Coca-Cola – keep the pantry buzzing. Each Monday through Thursday, the RAH team greet visitors and help them find what they seek.

This year, the shelves were buoyed by The Growing Food Security Project, a collaboration with Agricultural Science students at CSU’s ARDEC (Agricultural Research, Development and Education) facility. Staffed by students and other volunteers, the 1-acre plot produced a farmers market worth of vegetables. Before the last frost, 30 folks helped harvest more than 11,400 pounds of food that was given away on the Lory Student Center Plaza in September.

“It was an all-hands on deck effort,” Buttram said.

The pantry has a small budget for hard-to-get items. This year, it’s been eggs, Buttram said, caused by a global bird flu and other supply chain issues. But eggs are a good source of protein especially for vegetarians who want them, so Buttram keeps them stocked.

The program is not slowing down. Next on this list is securing a box truck so the Rams Against Hunger staff can make their own pick-ups. That must wait for now, as box trucks are also on the hard-to-get list.

Support Rams Against Hunger


On Giving Tuesday, Rams are coming together to give the three in 10 CSU students facing food insecurity the chance to focus on their studies – and not where their next meal will come from.

Show support at  ramfunder.colostate.edu/project/34417