In a time filled with innumerous challenges and stresses, the Iowa State community is navigating the world with undeniable Cyclone spirit-determined to move forward and pursue their dreams, ready to take on whatever comes their way.
However, current circumstances for some students facing hardships mean they are going without basic needs, including access to food and personal care items. While not a new challenge, the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated the lack of access and many found themselves facing unimaginable choices between food and other expenses, such as rent or materials needed for classes. In April 2020, the Division of Student Affairs opened a new food pantry in the Union Drive Community Center, distributing fresh breads, produce, meat, dairy and self-stable products to up to 150 students daily. By the end of summer 2020, the food pantry served almost 3,300 students and provided 15,600 bags of groceries to those experiencing food insecurity.
Shortly after the temporary food pantry opened, the ISU Food Pantry Support Fund was created to help provide essential grocery items to students and support food pantries at Iowa State. SHOP, the on-campus food pantry that typically serves students, reopened in fall 2020 and has provided thousands of pounds of food to the campus community. SHOP serves a critical role in providing food security to students, and in the future, they hope to expand their services and offer additional items. To do so, new infrastructure needs such as refrigerator and freezer units, updated inventory and ordering technology, and storage and organization materials will be essential.
These on-campus food pantries and additional resources, such as the Give a Swipe Program and the campus Food Security Workgroup (led by Student Wellness) work together to continue efforts toward a campus where all students are food secure -and the need has never been greater. National data indicates that one third of college students are food and/or housing insecure, and data from the 2019 implementation of the National College Health Association (NCHA) on ISU’s campus indicates 24% of ISU students are food insecure. While the impact over the last year has been tremendous, there are many still in need. As students continue to navigate the challenges of our current world, we hope you’ll consider a gift to the ISU Food Pantry Support Fund to help on-campus food pantries serve the Iowa State community and provide essential food and personal care items to thosed in need. Uncertainty lies ahead for many and your support means more than ever. Together, we will work to ensure food security for all Cyclones!