Food insecurity is something that 30% of students in higher education are struggling with. Whether that means not knowing where their next meal will come from, not knowing how they will pay for it, or something as simple as wanting to eat healthier and not being able to afford it. CSU has taken a stand against this problem with tangible measures such as providing a food pantry, a meal swipe program, pocket pantries and support with SNAP Benefits applications, but also by addressing the issue with transparency and advocating to end the stigma against food insecurity.
Rams Against Hunger was started in 2016 and has proven to be highly valuable to students in the CSU community. In previous years, the RAH Pantry was only available one day per month but was still able to serve around 850 students. Now there will be a permanent food pantry set up in the LSC, making it more available and accessible to those who need it. I spoke with Michael Buttram, the Rams Against Hunger Coordinator, about what this new set up will look like and why it is so important for our community.
“The momentum and support for a full-time pantry has been growing ,” explained Buttram, but the pandemic that has left many individuals’ lives changed by tragedy, financial burden, and other losses, demonstrated how important it is to have a pantry program available on a full time basis. Being able to have access to food goes beyond the student’s experience. “Our hope is to address each student as a person first, so that they can go out and be the very best student they are able to be”,” explained Buttram.
The stigma that food insecurity is something to be ashamed or embarrassed about needs to stop. One major goal of Rams Against Hunger and the food pantry is to acknowledge that anyone can end up in the position of needing assistance accessing food. Helping fight the stigma by providing a service open to all will ensure fewer people go hungry.
Part of there being no stigma means that anyone can come to the food pantry with no questions asked, whether you are a student, faculty, or staff. If you do choose to utilize the food pantry, a great way to help would be by providing some information that will go to the Larimer County Food Bank. They are the major partner in Rams Against Hunger, the data provided to them will help ensure that we have the funding to keep this program going.
If you would like to support the food pantry or other Rams Against Hunger programs, they are accepting donations of food as long as they are in unopened packages and have not been handled previously. There is also the option to give a monetary donation on the website.
For more information: https://lsc.colostate.edu/slice/slice-engagement/rams-against-hunger/