The Cobber Food Pantry is an evolving effort and partnership among Health Services, Office of Student Engagement, Sustainability, and all of the students and community members who volunteer and give us feedback.
At Concordia College, we recognize that access to regular, healthy meals and snacks is a human right.
We are grateful to the countless students, specifically our minoritized students, who over many years have voiced the need for the college to provide support in meeting this basic need.
We hope to see this effort flourish and grow into a fully-functioning food pantry.
The Cobber Food Pantry is the product of many conversations lead by students over the past few years, sharing the need for the campus to provide resources to students facing food insecurity.
In Fall 2018, senior student researchers enrolled in a Food Nutrition Science course at Concordia conducted a survey, sent to the entire student body. That same year, Residence Life included a Financial Hardship section in their resident feedback survey. The findings from these surveys indicated that 32% of our students face food insecurity in some form, and almost 13% indicate that this is an issue they face monthly. When asked which resources would help them the most, the overwhelming choice selected by students was a food pantry that also provided personal care products.
In Fall 2019, Abigayle Reese ’20, then Vice President of SGA, surveyed Concordia students to gather their personal experiences and narratives regarding food insecurity. In Spring 2020, Reese, along with Nathalie Rinehardt, proposed and co-presented a concurrent session to increase awareness around Food Insecurity during MLK Day. This session sparked interest and desire from a small group of staff members to address and play a significant role in reducing the barriers that students face in accessing sufficient, healthy food on a regular basis.
Fast forward to March 2020, as a result of the impacts of COVID-19, the number of students facing food insecurity increased significantly, which became apparent from the information collected through student surveys during the pandemic.
We are grateful to all the students who over many years expressed the need for an on-campus resource to aid in reducing food insecurity.
We hope to see this effort grow.
We know that nationwide, the phenomenon that college students face significant barriers in regular access to healthy meals.
Studies* show that food insecurity remains a persistent challenge for college students, despite their access to other resources and means.
30% of college students are food insecure
56% of food insecure college students are employed
75% of food insecure students receive financial aid
43% of food insecure students have a meal plan
In addition, studies* found that food insecurity is more prevalant among the more minoritized college students:
57% of Black or African American students reported food insecurity, compared to 40% of non-Hispanic white students.
56% of first-generation students were food insecure, compared to 45% of students who had at least one parent who attended college
Problems with access to abundant, healthy food impacts students' ability to succeed in college:
55% of students reported not buying a required textbook due to food insecurity
53% of students reported missing a class
25% of students reported dropping a class