By Cliff Foster
High demand at the start of fall semester drew down the stock at the MSU Denver Food Bank. Though a recent shopping trip has helped replenish the pantry, food is always needed.
As of last week, 159 students had signed up to take advantage of the food bank, which sees on average 18 students a day and is open to all current MSU Denver students.
The rush at the start of school apparently stemmed, at least in part, from a change in the disbursement of financial aid. “Overall, the students who have been in here, there’s definitely a lot more who are desperate,” says Jaclyn O’Hara, a food bank coordinator and MSU Denver junior, who has worked two previous semesters at the food bank.
The food bank is located in the bottom level of the Tivoli to the left of the Food Court inside Sigi’s Pool Hall in Room 145A.Currently, it is open about 18 hours a week, fewer than in the past, because there are only two coordinators.
The Chronicle of Higher Education reported recently that food banks have cropped up at campuses nationwide. The MSU Denver food bank was established in 2008; the other two Auraria schools also run food pantries.
The MSU Denver food bank relies on monetary and food donations from individuals, departments and the Student Government Assembly, says Braelin Pantel, associate dean of student engagement and wellness. It gets most of its items from the Food Bank of the Rockies, which supplies more than 1,200 hunger-relief programs.
But donations are always welcome. Protein foods–peanut butter, canned tuna and chicken–are the most requested items. Canned fruit and applesauce are also in demand. The food bank doesn’t take perishable or expired items or over-the-counter medications, vitamins or supplements, though it does collect personal care products such as shampoo, soap and deodorant.
Last spring, a survey was conducted to measure student use of and satisfaction with the food bank. Of the 42 respondents, 75 percent said they used it weekly or two to three times a month and nearly a quarter said it was their primary source of food.
“I am glad that we have a food bank here and that we have a culture that encourages students to help other students and doesn't shame those students who need help,” one respondent wrote. “I hope to see it grow and become even more successful in the future. Props to all the food bank staff, who have always been great on every interaction I've had with them.”
For information on how to support the food bank, click here.
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