Cougar Food Pantry Update
In spring 2016, the American College Health Association conducted a National College Health Assessment survey and found that on our campus 50 percent of students who responded to the survey reported dealing with food insecurity issues. Food insecurity means that impacted students have limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate and safe foods. This can have negative effects on their academic achievements and abilities.
As the student voice on campus, ASI addressed this issue and introduced Cougar Pantry, an on-campus food pantry for currently enrolled students. In preparation for the pantry’s opening, we developed a three-phase approach:
Phase I – In spring 2017, we launched a campaign, Bite Out Hunger, to educate the campus community about food insecurity as well as ask for our campus partners’ help in combating this issue. Together, our CSUSM community donated almost 600 pounds of food.
Phase II – We are working with campus partners to remodel and open a temporary location in spring 2018. On September 21, 2017, we launched a mobile distribution pantry scheduled for the 1st and 3rd Thursday of each month during U-Hour. The first two days of the mobile pantry we helped 114 and 174 CSUSM students respectively.
Phase III – Identify a permanent campus location for the Cougar Pantry and develop a robust network of campus partners and external relationships to create a sustainable pantry program that offers refrigeration and freezers in order to accommodate nutritious, well-rounded meal options to include dairy, produce and more. We also hope to offer budget planning, meal preparation and nutrition trainings, as well as cooking demonstrations.
Thank you to everyone who participated in our efforts thus far. Food insecurity and meeting the basic needs of our students are important issues, and we look forward to working together to ensure that all CSUSM students have an outstanding student experience. We will continue to keep you updated as the need for resources and more information become available