Clyde’s Cupboard spreads word to help students through food and toiletries

Sept. 22, 2014

Audrey Jensen
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Sometimes having a job and being diligent with finances isn’t enough. Several students still find themselves without food or other necessities. That’s when the university offers a helping hand.

Located in the back of the Student Life and Leadership Office, Clyde’s Cupboard offers foods and toiletries to struggling students.

“I think that students can find themselves struggling at any time for a variety of reasons, we have a lot of support systems. This is one more of those,” Amanda Koback, program manager of the Office of Dean of Students, said.

The resource has seen some use this semester. “Granted, we did not advertise much yet, but we have had 10 students come in this semester so far,” Ricky Almarode, president of Clyde’s Cupboard, said.

Since it opened in March, Koback said the food bank has received over 150 student visits with some returning regularly, some using it a few times and some only visiting once.

Clyde’s Cupboard was founded by assistant professor in the anthropology department, Kimbra Smith, anthropology major Daniel Jaramillo and other anthropology students working on a class project in the summer 2013 term.

Almarode was involved in Pikes Peak Community College Food Pantry for over a year and was asked to take over Clyde’s Cupboard due to his experience.

The cupboard doesn’t only provide food. According to Koback, toiletries were not offered to students last semester.

“There’s times when people don’t have enough money to get [toiletries], they’re at school and don’t want to buy from the bookstore. We have it just in case there are extreme circumstances,” Almarode said.

Students do not have to have proof of needing financial assistance, Koback said. Firsttime visitors check in with the SLL front desk, verify they are a student with their university ID card and fill out an intake form. Only allowed one visit per week, students can then choose six items of food from the storage.

Last semester Clyde’s Cupboard did a test run of giving out eight items per student, but switched it to six items this semester.

“When they initially started, we were looking at model of how the cabinets were set up. It was just hard to maintain the level of support,” Koback said. “Eight was trial and error [and] seemed like good idea with the food pyramid. We realized with eight items the demand was too heavy.”

Koback said that giving away six items per student was similar to how other colleges and universities run their food pantries.

The food items are separated into different subgroups and students are only allowed to pick one item per sub-group in order to keep the offerings in balance.

“At the end of the summer semester we were really low on food,” Almarode said. “We weren’t sure how we were going to open for the fall semester.”

Although there was uneasiness, Almarode said he wasn’t too concerned and that Clyde’s Cupboard receives constant donations from sources outside of UCCS and from different UCCS departments.

Clyde’s Cupboard’s drawers are currently full from receiving over 1,000 donated items.

Beth-El senior Courtney James plans to set up a box for voluntary donation from students in University Hall. There are more donation boxes located around campus as well such as the communication center.

Donations are welcome from anyone at any time, but only students are allowed to take items from Clyde’s Cupboard. Non-students are given suggestions to local food banks if they come to Clyde’s Cupboard.

The main way of spreading the news about Clyde’s Cupboard has been word of mouth.

“If we do get our 501-C3 status and partner up [with another food bank] we could expand, but I do not foresee that happening,” Almarode said. The food pantry originally opened in March, and resumed for this semester on Sept. 17.

The cupboard is available Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.