UCM Dedicates Campus Cupboard to Assist Students, Staff in Need
Contact: Mike Greife
WARRENSBURG, MO (Oct. 9, 2013) – Seeking to serve members of the University of Central Missouri campus community who are recognized as food insecure, UCM faculty, staff and students came together Tuesday, Oct. 8, for the opening of the Campus Cupboard, a food pantry that will serve the UCM campus.
Located in the lower level of the UCM Student Recreation and Wellness Center, the Campus Cupboard was developed through a collaborative effort by the Office of Student Activities, the Department of Communication Disorders and Social Work and the Department of Nutrition and Kinesiology.
Cutting the ribbon signifying the opening of the Campus Cupboard in the UCM Student Recreation and Wellness Center were, left to right, Beth Rutt, director of campus activities; Swarna Mandali, professor of nutrition; Teresa Gordon, associate professor of social work; Kristie Brinkley, assistant director of volunteer services; Jean Nuernberger, chair of the Department of Communication Disorders and Social Work; Mary McCord, professor of management; Marlys Peck, associate professor of social work; and UCM President Chuck Ambrose.
Initial funding for the startup of the center was provided through a UCM Foundation Opportunity Grant. The $5,000 grant funded the purchase of shelving, refrigeration, technology, food and supplies for the opening of the pantry. In addition, the UCM Student Government Association allocated $2,000 during spring semester 2013 to assist with the opening of the facility and has made a commitment of $1,000 per semester to sustain the operation.
According to Beth Rutt, UCM director of student activities, the Campus Cupboard will serve students, faculty and staff in need. After presenting a faculty/staff or student ID, a client may select up to 10 items per week from the pantry. The pantry is open to the campus community from 3-8 p.m. Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday and is staffed by student volunteers, providing opportunities for students to contribute to the campus community.
The application for the Opportunity Grant was completed by Marlys Peck and Teresa Gordon, associate professors of social work. The Campus Cupboard, with the assistance of the UCM Foundation, has obtained 501(c)(3) tax exempt status and has been approved to purchase available food products from the Harvesters Community Food Network in Kansas City. Contributions of cash and food items are being accepted, and a list of needed items will be maintained on site.
According to Peck, initial planning for the Campus Cupboard began during in August 2012 with a group of students who saw the need to assist students with nutrition and with the assistance of faculty and staff from across the campus. Students from the UCM Department of Communication Disorders and Social Work conducted a survey of the student body during spring semester 2013 that identified a significant need for the assistance provided by the Campus Cupboard.
“We have received excellent support for the Campus Cupboard, and we are confident that will continue,” Rutt said, “but we also want to reassure the local community that UCM’s many student organizations will continue to support the Warrensburg Food Center in the many ways they had done so over the years.” She added that the annual Homecoming Donation Creation contest will continue to support the Warrensburg Food Center.
“At UCM, if there is a need, the university community will reach out to help,” said UCM President Chuck Ambrose. “As an institution with a mission of education for service, we all join together to recognize that we have members of our community who are having trouble feeding themselves or their families. The Campus Cupboard is just one example of how we look beyond ourselves and work together to benefit others, and it puts our Student Recreation and Wellness Center into full use in helping people be fed and cared for."
Jenne Vanderbout, assistant vice president for resource development, said the pantry was a “significant example of how the UCM Foundation recognizes the importance of investing donors’ gifts to allow students to achieve their highest goals.”
For information on how to volunteer or donate to the Campus Cupboard, contact Beth Rutt at 660-543-4381.