Organizations on and off Campus Strive to Combat Food Insecurity
2020 and 2021 have not been easy. Amid a global pandemic, a housing crisis, and increasing natural disasters, another age-old problem has also gotten worse: hunger. According to feedingamerica.org, over half a million people in Colorado are facing hunger and food insecurity as of 2021. There is, however, hope amid the desperation. The Lynx Food Pantry and Feeding Denver’s Hungry are two organizations making significant progress in addressing hunger and other basic needs on Auraria Campus and in the greater Denver Area—providing a lifeline to individuals and families who desperately need it.
Open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and from noon to 6 p.m. on Friday, the Lynx Food Pantry has been stocked up on food, hygiene products, and other essential items since early August. Students enrolled at CU Denver are assigned ten points every week, and they can use those points to acquire products from the Food Pantry on the third floor of the Lola & Rob Salazar Student Wellness Center. To access and use the Food Pantry’s resources, students must bring their student ID and sign up to obtain items at the Wellness Center.
The Food Pantry provides everything from non-perishable food items (available year-round) to farm-fresh produce, which students can register to pick up on-campus twice per month. The registration is available on the Food Pantry’s section of the CU Denver Website. Students can sign up by choosing a pickup location, confirming their name, student ID, school email, and phone number, and then signing an agreement disclosure.
A Mobile Food Pantry is available as well, with pickup times and locations listed on its respective section of the CU Denver Wellness and Recreation website.
If students do not need the services provided by the Food Pantry but would like to volunteer their time to help others, the site contains links where people can sign up to help out in various aspects of the Food Pantry in a group or as individuals.
Roughly 15 miles east of campus, Feeding Denver’s Hungry founder Jim Scharper has filled a warehouse with countless crates of canned goods, face masks, and other items. His organization has seen a drastic spike in need as a result of the pandemic, and he and his fellow volunteers have risen to the occasion. At the beginning of the crisis, Scharper created a drive-through service on Jason Street, where he filled the cars of recently unemployed individuals with nonperishable food. Since then, Feeding Denver’s Hungry has unfortunately lost the lease for that specific venue, but media attention earlier this year led to the organization’s re-establishment at their current location: Denver’s first non-profit free grocery store.
Scharper’s work has helped countless people, inspiring some of them to pass on the favor. Volunteer Alicia Sanchez says Jim helped keep her family afloat after she fell ill and filed for unemployment in 2019. She joined the organization out of a desire to give back, and now helps direct shoppers at the store, as well as working as a translator for Spanish-speaking shoppers. Sanchez and Sharper hope to someday move their work downtown so that they can help more people.
This article is from Volume 07, Issue 02: https://online.flippingbook.com/view/483509472/