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A new food pantry at CMU will provide free food for hungry students.

Fueling education with food

CMU Volunteer Center opens pantry for all students experiencing hunger

Contact: Ari Harris

​Every day, some college students go to class hungry, distracted from their studies by worry about where their next meal will come from. Food insecurity at Central Michigan University could easily affect more than 3,000 students, according to a study by CMU's Office of Student Affairs.


CMU's new Student Food Pantry will help students stay focused and well-fed with distributions of free food.

The pantry is in the lower level of Robinson Hall near the North Campus Success Center and Computer-Based Testing Center. It will be run by the Mary Ellen Brandell Volunteer Center. Here's how it works:

  • Any current CMU student may register online to receive food assistance.
  • Food distributions will begin Tuesday, Nov. 27. The pantry will distribute food once in December, and will be held every other Tuesday beginning in the spring semester.
  • Students may pick up their food between 6 and 8 p.m.

Services without stigma

Kourtney Koch, graduate assistant for the Student Food Pantry, said food insecurity on college campuses isn't visible in the ways it would be in other communities. She said the expectation that all college students have access to food is a false assumption and that students at all income levels have moments when they struggle and need help.

Food often comes last for students paying for a higher education, she said. The pantry's services mean students won't have to choose between food and other expenses.

"If you need assistance, we're here to help you," Koch said.

Starving the brain

Food insecurity impacts more than just physical health.

Lack of proper nutrients inhibits the brain from working at full capacity, so hunger directly impacts students' academic success and mental health.

In a cross-campus study conducted by higher education research firm EAB, data indicated students experiencing food insecurity were 15 times more likely to fail a class and far less likely to graduate within five years.

The Student Food Pantry's mission is to ensure that hunger is not a barrier to academic success or well-being for any student.

Written by Olivia Tubaro and Abby Fischer, University Communications interns


Hungry? Get help

If you are a CMU student who needs food, fill out the registration form in advance and come to pick up food from 6-8 p.m. Nov. 27. The pantry is located by the North Campus Success Center near the Computer-Based Testing Center.

Want to help?

The pantry will rely on financial support from private donors and the help of student volunteers. Alumni, faculty, staff, students and friends will have opportunities to help throughout the year.

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