The Campus Cupboard welcomes volunteers

Lexi Woodcock

For students looking for service hours, Augustana’s Campus Cupboard is always looking for volunteers. The free pantry, located in the basement of Bahl’s Leadership Center, is open to students and volunteers 3-5 p.m. Monday-Thursday. Students can stop by for a quick snack or to fulfill some service hours. 

The Campus Cupboard works to battle food insecurity and stigma by supplying students with extra food or snacks they may need. According to several of their current staff members, the Campus Cupboard is in dire need of volunteers, specifically at the end of semester before finals week.

Senior Carter Kenney is the student director of Campus Cupboard and a public health major, writing his senior inquiry on the Campus Cupboard and food insecurity. According to Kenney, the Cupboard is working to obtain more volunteers and customers. 

On Nov. 15-17, the Campus Cupboard held a pop up event in the Brew, offering a variety of food options to the 73 students who attended. There were more students in attendance than normal Cupboard customers. 

“I’m just hoping that more people come to this physical location,” Kenney said regarding the Campus Cupboard. “But maybe we just need to have more of those events in the Brew.” 

Kenney says there are between 20-30 volunteers currently, but stresses that more people are always welcome. The average shift consists of stocking, storing food and interacting with students who come in, making it a welcoming environment for all who visit. 

The Campus Cupboard works closely with other student organizations on campus, such as Greek life, Royal Neighbors and Campus Ministries to help fulfill both service hours and give back to the community. 

Senior Nick Gainey volunteers for Campus Cupboard and works closely with Campus Ministries. Although he has only volunteered for a couple months this school year, Gainey serves as a link between the two organizations, tying the two student groups together. 

“It feels good to know that you are doing a positive thing for your community,” Gainey said. “There’s good all around.” 

There are a variety of reasons why students utilize the food pantry, either as a volunteer or customer. The Campus Cupboard serves as a resource for people without transportation off campus, people running low on food and money, or anyone just needing a quick snack they might’ve forgotten to purchase. 

Junior Joanna Horne is also a volunteer for Campus Cupboard. Starting this year, she said she is grateful to become a part of this organization as both a volunteer and student. 

“I feel like the environment as a whole is very comfortable,” Horne said. “Where both as a volunteer you feel respected, and the people who use that resource as well. There’s a level of respect all around, and it is very inclusive.” 

This type of environment is exactly what the Campus Cupboard and Kenney strive for: a safe and useful resource for students on campus, regardless of financial or food insecurity status. A big goal for Kenney is to break down the stigma surrounding student resources. 

“I would like to see more students using the Campus Cupboard. There’s a lot of stigma towards these kinds of self-help things,” Kenney said. “And really, the message is you don’t have to prove that you’re food insecure in any way to utilize Campus Cupboard.” 

According to Kenney, a student may also need to use the Campus Cupboard if they are “food anxious,” having a tighter budget than some. There is a wide range of food insecurity, and students may face different levels throughout their years on campus. 

“This is a place where you can come, and we aren’t going to ask questions,” Kenney said. “We’re going to be welcoming. You can take as much as you need. And it’s all free, so why not?” 

Students interested in volunteering can contact Carter Kenney or Melinda Pupillo. Sign up Information is also included in the Student Bulletin.