Around the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. saw unemployment peak at a rate of 14.8 percent in April 2020 and decreased to 6.7 percent by December, according to the Federation of American Scientists. In addition to unemployment, Feeding America reported that many Americans faced the struggle of food insecurity at an estimated 54 million people during the pandemic.
As many continue to struggle through this pandemic, including many college students, Clyde’s Cupboard continues to combat food insecurity through their on-campus resources, offering students in need of food and household products.
Earlier this semester, Clyde’s Cupboard announced an extension of their operating hours from three to five days a week. The new schedule is a continued effort to provide more opportunities for students in need of on-campus resources.
Clyde’s Cupboard offers free meals to students on campus through the Mountain Lion Meals program, where students can sign up to receive one to three meals a week for free by adding them to students’ ID cards and simply heading over to the Roaring Fork or the Lodge dining halls on campus.
Clyde’s Cupboard first opened in 2013, originally starting as a group anthropology project. The project revolved around the goal of increasing student involvement, while also creating a community of caring.
Eventually the team was able to get a spot in the Student Life Office for a food cabinet, and from there, Clyde’s Cupboard began to see students all throughout campus utilizing its food and household resources — and has done so for the last eight years.
“I totally remember not having enough money for groceries because I had other bills to pay for like rent, utilities, car bills, books and other required items for school,” said Ray Fisco, the prevention and outreach manager at the Office of the Dean of Students who also oversees Clyde’s Cupboard.
“I reflect on my experience and hope that through Clyde’s Cupboard, that students don’t struggle like I did, and that they have this resource so that they don’t have to go hungry,” Fisco said.
Fisco sees the expansion of hours as a great way to make the cupboard more compatible with students’ schedules, as the previous standard Tuesdays through Thursdays prevented students from coming in when the hours did not fit into their schedules.
“Opening Clyde’s Cupboard five days a week was something we’ve always wanted to do,” said Katie Morton, current graduate assistant for the Office of the Dean of Students and overseer of Clyde’s Cupboard and its student employees.
“I think having the cupboard open five days a week will be a tremendous step forward for UCCS. Clyde’s Cupboard will continue to make improvements and never stop to better itself for our students. Whether it’s a snack before class or an entire meal, we want students to succeed without the worry of hunger,” Morton said.
Clyde’s Cupboard is not just for students struggling to afford groceries though; students passing by the Student Life Office can stop by anytime for a snack. Fisco noted, “All are welcome to use Clyde’s Cupboard. You want a quick snack like a granola bar before class, stop by Clyde’s Cupboard. Or if you need food for the week, then please stop by the cupboard, we are here to feed you!”
Clyde’s Cupboard is currently located in the Student Life Office at the University Center, now operating Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., as well as the secondary cupboard located in the Wellness Center that operates after hours.
Fresh food pickup is also available every Friday through the Fresh Food Friday’s program. They occur once a month from 12-3 p.m., and students who come by are provided with options of fresh fruit, vegetables, cheeses, breads, milks and more. Event schedules for this program can be found through Mountain Lion Connect.