Ongoing Food Shortage at the Campus Cupboard

Shelves Emptying for First Time in a Decade

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Photo by Annelia Nixon

Volunteers help unload food supplies for UCM’s Campus Cupboard. The Cupboard has been in a food shortage over the last six months.

Written by Annelia Nixon, Copy Chief

Volunteers cart donated food items over to the UCM Campus Cupboard on the lower floors of the Student Recreation and Wellness Center. Donations like these help keep the shelves of the Cupboard stocked for students in need. (Photo by Annelia Nixon)
Photo by Rachel Becker

 According to the University of Central Missouri’s Director of Student Activities Beth Rutt, UCM’s Campus Cupboard has been in a food shortage for the last six months. Rutt said she is concerned about the lack of food availability, inflation and the effect it has on students, as these factors can determine how a student performs in class. 

  “Food insecurity on college campuses is real,” Rutt said. “People know what it’s like to be hungry and we don’t want that to be an issue for our students.”

  Rutt said the shortage has not been a surprise because she obtained a letter in Nov. 2022 from Harvesters Community Food Network. 

 “With Harvesters, I would go online and you would order the commodities that you want,” Rutt said. “So, normally you’d have 16 to 17 pages with like 30 items on each page that you can choose from, and just last month when I ordered, there were only four pages.”

  As a member of Feeding America, the group provides Campus Cupboard with some of its food items. The letter provided a warning of what was to come. Rutt said she knew they were going to experience a 43% cut from what they normally received.

  Rutt added protein is the hardest to get, there were no soups to choose from and she’s barely been able to get cereal since Nov. 2022. She has not been able to get rice or pasta.

  Campus Cupboard student worker, Maggie Rankin, said she is also concerned about the decline in food items. 

  “The amount of food that we’ve gotten in now has drastically declined since whenever I first started,” Rankin said. “It has definitely impacted us. We have our usuals that depend on this food.”

  Rutt said she purchases food from Harvesters, while ALDI and Walmart donate food to Campus Cupboard. She added that student organizations conduct food drives for Campus Cupboard often and she will meet with some of the local grocery stores and purchase food from them directly. Rutt said some UCM staff members have been pitching in.

  “When they [UCM staff members] go and do their shopping, they’ll buy an extra roll of paper towels and they’ll buy two or three cans of soup extra,” Rutt said. “They accumulate so much and then they bring it by and donate it. We have some individuals who are very generous in that way.”

  Graduate Assistant for the Campus Cupboard Kaylee Bohle wants to be sure that students and Warrensburg citizens know how to help get more food on Campus Cupboard’s shelves.

  “People can donate,” Bohle said. “We are accepting all donations. Some student organizations on campus donate by setting up activities where student orgs [organizations] can donate to us.”

  According to Rutt, when Campus Cupboard cannot provide, there are other resources students can look to. 

  “They can go to Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church Monday through Friday at 5 p.m. and get a free dinner,” Rutt said. “A lot of our church student organizations offer a free lunch once a week or a free dinner once a week. A student can have a hot meal every day at no expense.”