Cobber Food Pantry Annual Report 2020-21

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ORIGIN OF THE FOOD PANTRY In a 2018 campus survey administered by senior student researchers in a Food, Nutrition, and Dietetics 321 course, data showed that 30% of Concordia students experienced food insecurity that year with 13% experiencing it on a regular, monthly basis. The Cobber Food Pantry began in response to this data plus the food insecurity students were facing as a result of the pandemic in May 2020. It started with a single shelf of food donated by students moving out of the residence halls along with donations by faculty and staff of the college. The pantry was expanded in August 2020 and moved to its current location in the Parke Student Leadership Center. The new location, a designated room with shelving and its own fridge, is a private yet accessible location within Knutson Campus Center. In September 2020, the food pantry became an official partner of the Great Plains Food Bank, a food bank serving North Dakota and Clay County, Minn.

DONATIONS The food pantry is supplied with donations from various sources. Donation bins provide an opportunity for campus community members to donate in convenient locations all across campus. Donation bin locations include: Advancement Center Carl B. Ylvisaker Library Hvidsten Hall of Music Integrated Science Center

Memorial Auditorium Offutt School of Business Parke Student Leadership Center

1437 lb – Campus donations (from organized food drives and weekly donations from students/faculty/staff)

622 lb – Purchased with money donated to the food pantry Along with campus donations, the food pantry also uses monetary donations to purchase items to supplement donations. Purchased items typically include fresh produce, dairy products, and toiletries. These are all items rarely donated yet needed the most by students.

ACCESSING THE PANTRY The food pantry can be accessed by students as many times as they want with no restrictions. The only requirement is that students must show their student ID and complete a short intake form. All data collected is kept completely confidential. Some items have limits although there are never limits on produce to encourage healthy eating. Food limits are often increased when leading up to an academic break. The pantry is open two times each week: Mondays from 11 a.m.1 p.m. and Thursdays from 3-5 p.m. If students are not able to visit the pantry during these hours, they have two other options to receive food. Students may either request a personal appointment time or have nonperishable items delivered through the Campus Post Office. In the past year, the pantry fulfilled 82 PO box delivery requests.

PANTRY COORDINATION The food pantry is overseen by the Office of Student Engagement. It is staffed by a team of volunteers from Student Development and Campus Life. Staff in other areas of campus play an important role in hosting donation bins, taking turns collecting food from donation bins and delivering to the pantry, organizing food drives, and serving as word-of-mouth publicity in the community. The college’s Health Services Coordinator receives automated emails when a student indicates they are in need of support, as food insecurity is often tied to additional health concerns. This is an optional question on the food pantry intake form and provides an easy way for students to get connected to the Health Services coordinator.


172 students served

by 779 visits those students

DEMOGRAPHICS Through a pantry user experience survey distributed in March, the Cobber Food Pantry determined these demographic numbers:

59.3% White 15.4% International Students 25.3% Students of Color

FOCUSING ON THE FUTURE Concordia is aware of and plans to continue educating the campus community on food insecurity. Additionally Concordia will work to combat the stigma associated with college student food insecurity. In the future, the Cobber Food Pantry team will employ a student to assist in the coordination of the pantry throughout the year as well as expand the offered services. Some services most requested by users include nutrition and cooking assistance with demonstrations, education on emergency financial assistance including SNAP qualifications, information and assistance with securing jobs, and access to kitchen equipment to alleviate barriers in using food available in the pantry.

*National data shows that students of color and LGBTQ+ students are impacted more by poverty and food insecurity than white students. LGBTQ+ students make up 10% of the overall students served by the Cobber Food Pantry. For 17% of pantry users, the Cobber Food Pantry was reported as their primary food source. Year in School:

15% First Year 28% Second Year 22% Third Year 35% Fourth Year

SUSTAINABLE PRACTICES Local foods are an important sustainable practice of the food pantry. Vegetables are regularly donated from Concordia’s organic garden and the Fargo-Moorhead Growing Together garden initiative. The pantry donated 80 lb of produce waste to the Exotic Animal Care and Husbandry Club to be used for feeding the animals in the Integrated Science Center.

RESOURCES To date Advancement has raised $17,000 from generous donors who specifically designated their gift for the Cobber Food Pantry. Additional start-up funds were provided through other designated campus grant funds.


As an official partner, the Cobber Food Pantry purchased and/or received:

7601 lb from Monthly Orders 1163 lb from Friday Food Rescue

TOP PANTRY ITEMS OF NEED Cereal All dairy: milk, cheese, eggs, and yogurt Fresh produce Easy-to-prep meals/meal kits (soup, macaroni and cheese, skillet pouches) Ethnic cuisine

Cooking spices Canned fruit and vegetables Pancake mix and syrup Lactose-free and gluten-free alternatives Protein bars Shelf stable milk Toiletries

WHEN ASKED HOW HAVING A FOOD PANTRY HAS IMPACTED THEM, STUDENTS SAID … • CPO box orders allowed me to request help without being embarrassed about needing it. • I was not stressing as much about spending money on groceries. • It helped me get enough nutritious and tasty food to eat in an extra-difficult time. • The food pantry is such an important community resource – food insecurity is much more common than people think, especially among college students. • I was not as concerned about hunger. • Helped me eat more and sustain myself on limited funds

• I was less worried about how to get groceries because I don’t have a car. • It helped me save money, especially when I was low on finances. • Having the food pantry relieved some of the emotional and physical toll of not having adequate amounts of food to eat. • I was able to make healthy meals when my budget didn’t allow it. • Brought me security in times when I needed to cut costs

• When my work hours were cut and I was unable to afford groceries, it helped me maintain healthy eating choices. • Helped me get food without worrying about cost • It provided fresh produce and good protein sources – the most expensive items on my shopping list. • Provided nutritious snacks • Supplementing nutritious foods helped support a healthy and balanced diet

• It helped me become aware of campus resources and feel less pressure of food insecurity.

Students in Dr. Michelle Strang’s (Food, Nutrition, and Dietetics) course this fall filmed educational “how-to” cooking videos with items from the pantry. They also created a recipe card to accompany the video. These videos and recipe cards are available at, on the pantry’s Instagram (@cobberfoodpantry) and posted in the food pantry.

901 8th St. S., Moorhead, MN 56562 Parke Student Leadership Center | IG: @CobberFoodPantry


Visit to learn more about how to donate or get involved.

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