Buff Pantry, a program which aims to combat food insecurity at the University of Colorado Boulder, officially opened its doors this September. Buff Pantry is a food security program that is a part of Feed the Stampede, which is organized through the Volunteer Resource Center (VRC). The pantry is open to CU Boulder students.
“Our only requirement is that the student needs food and food assistance,” Feed the Stampede assistant Johnny Hultzapple said.“We don’t have an application or anything like that.”
Hultzapple noted however that while there is no application, students who are food secure shouldn’t sign up for the program as it is meant for students who require food assistance. The program works by filling out a client intake form on the VRC website under the “Feed the Stampede” tab. The form asks for your basic contact information and about your need for food, which is kept confidential.
“This food is for students who don’t know where their next meal is coming from. If you’re dealing with that, this pantry is for you and that’s why we created this program,” Hultzapple said.
Hultzapple said that since COVID-19, there has been a greater need for food among students.
“Every week we are having more and more students reaching out to us,” Hultzapple said. He also said that it’s difficult to gauge the exact amount of CU Boulder students who are struggling with food access, because there wasn’t a large enough amount of students who responded to a food access survey that the VRC sent out, and COVID-19 could be increasing the amount of students who require food assistance.
“A lot of students who had jobs with the university or through the university are requiring food assistance because the university has lost a lot of funds due to COVID,” Hultzapple said.
Hultzapple also noted that right now there are time slots because of COVID-19 and there are more students than time slots which has made the process a bit challenging. He said that once there’s a more solid estimate of students in need, Feed the Stampede will be able to work with CU Boulder to better provide for students.
Buff Pantry supplies about 20 pounds of food to each of its clients per week. The food is mostly pre-packaged foods and canned goods, provided by Community Food Share, a non-profit organization that fights hunger in the Boulder and Broomfield areas.
Community Food Share receives food donations from people in those communities and then distributes it to food banks in Boulder and Broomfield. Feed the Stampede gets a new delivery each week.
Feed the Stampede is currently working on setting up food drives and donations at CU Boulder for their program and are hoping to recieve more produce in the future like they had over the summer for Mobile Pantry.
Mobile Pantry, which is another food assistance program encompassed in Feed the Stampede, had curbside access due to COVID-19.
Patricia King, senior, said that she used Mobile Pantry a couple of times this past summer.
“I liked that it was free and pretty frequent,” King said.
She didn’t have access to a car, but she said they wore masks and stayed socially distant while waiting in line outside. King agreed that there is a definite need for food assistance at CU Boulder.
Hultzapple said that in the future, Feed the Stampede would love to serve CU Boulder staff as well. He is proud of the program and excited to see how it will progress and continue to serve CU Boulder students.
“Right now we’re just getting up and running and figuring everything out,” Hultzapple said.“Our main goal is to combat food insecurity. ”
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Julia Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org.