Free food for students in high demand at Clyde’s Cupboard

October 17, 2017

Jasmine Nelson

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    Clyde’s Cupboard offers free food to a growing number of UCCS students, who can visit the cupboard of cereals and nonperishable items in the Student Life and Leadership Office up to twice a week and take home six items a visit, as long as they sign in with their student ID.

    Sometimes, the cupboard is even stocked with dog food or diapers, depending on what items have been donated recently.

    One obstacle in keeping Clyde’s Cupboard stocked is the lack of money being donated, according to     senior pre-medical student Troy Romero, manager of Clyde’s Cupboard.

    Most products offered to students are purchased with the money collected from the spare-change donation boxes located around campus at Sanatorium Grounds, Café 65 and Clyde’s Gastropub.

    “It’s been hard because our campus has switched to being a no-cash campus, so we have an issue actually filling these donation boxes,” Romero said.

    To collect the amount of donations necessary to continue to serve the UCCS student body, the Office of the Dean of Students has organized the Battle of the Departments Food Drive, which will run from Oct. 20 – Nov. 20.

    Students from a Health Promotion class are running the annual drive. Their goal is to collect 8,000 donations, almost double the amount of donations the 2014 drive collected. Each week, one of four categories of items–cereal, peanut butter, pasta or canned fruit—will be worth double points.

    The winning department will receive a pizza party donated by Dining and Hospitality Services.

    According to SLL front desk attendant and sophomore PGA golf management major Rylie Tanoura, Clyde’s Cupboard is stocked to provide food for a high number of regular students who visit the cupboard every week, as well as students who don’t come in as frequently.

    Romero said that the Clyde’s Cupboard Advisory Board has identified one primary problem this semester: the Cupboard can’t keep up with a significant increase in visitors.

    “Just this week, we saw 58 students, so you can understand that the amount of food and demand is not being met,” he said.

    About 348 items leave the shelves of the Cupboard each week, and there have been 1,000 visitors so far this calendar year, according to Romero.

    “That’s a really amazing number because that means we have helped 1,000 students with providing food. This new semester alone, we had 115 new users at the cupboard,” he said.

    This advisory board was created about a year ago and meets once a month to discuss the future of the program and any issues that need to be addressed. It is made up of students and faculty from most departments on campus.

    According to Romero, one of the goals of Clyde’s Cupboard is to offer healthy options to UCCS students. This means less items like instant ramen, corn and conventional cans of soup. This can be difficult with a tight budget, he said.

    “Some of the cheaper food is less healthy, but we try to keep it as healthy as possible,” Romero said.

    Otherwise, the cupboard is stocked with items donated to the SLL office or the Kraemer Family Library.

    Departments who want more information, or are interested in participating in the drive and winning a free pizza party, can contact Ann Taylor at [email protected] or Joselyna Gallegos at [email protected], two of the students helping to run the food drive.

    Along with the growth in student visitors, more volunteers run Clyde’s Cupboard than in past semesters.

    Front desk staff members in the SLL Office assist students who come in to pick up food items, but Clyde’s Cupboard is staffed with about 30 volunteers in total who assist with tracking inventory and assisting the students who come in to pick up items.

    “We’ve been getting more volunteers than usual; this is a great opportunity to get volunteer hours,” Tanoura said.

    At least one volunteer could be needed during the Cupboard’s operating hours: Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Students can volunteer after they register their available hours on Mountain Lion Connect.