The Aggie Cupboard, a service for students, staff and faculty in need of emergency food assistance, celebrated a one year anniversary at New Mexico State University with a new location, an outpouring of support and volunteers eager to give back.
Operated through NMSU community donations and volunteers, the Aggie Cupboard, now located in Room 132 of Garcia Annex, is picking up momentum as the holidays near.
"Not ever having run a food pantry before, I'm not sure necessarily what the definition of success for a food pantry is," said Lori Haussamen, a social worker for the NMSU Counseling Center and Campus Health Center. "Ultimately, what I care about is, if someone on campus is hungry, can we help them get food."
By simply showing a valid NMSU ID, participants can receive a bag of food free of charge.
Since the start of the fall 2013 semester, 180 food bags, totaling to 1,116 individual food times, have been distributed to date.
"What's been really fun for me has been seeing how different people within the NMSU community have become invested in the Aggie Cupboard," Haussamen said.
"I don't think people realize how much students need that extra food and how many students this can affect," said Raven Smith, an NMSU social work services intern.
Since the pantry began, food drives have been held with many on-and-off campus organizations, including local churches and NMSU Christian Challenge.
Through St. Albert the Great Newman Center, the Aggie Cupboard has received $1,000 in donations and has found volunteers as well as clients.
Mathew Walsh, a supporter of the Aggie Cupboard, first heard about its service through the Newman Center.
"It shows that the university actually cares about the people in it," Walsh said. "It just reminds you that there are good people around."
Haussamen keeps track of volunteers, donations and clients, with the exception of "a handful of guardian angels," who donate regularly without leaving contact information.
"My job is to help connect students to resources in the hopes that they can be academically successful," Haussamen said. "It seems that no matter what people's belief systems are, or even their political persuasion, most people tend to agree people need food."
The Aggie Cupboard is currently running a food drive with the Aggie men's basketball team, offering a deal for the Nov. 25 game against Bethune-Cookman University. Donating two canned goods will result in discounted admission at $5, normally $8.
Accepting donations year round, the pantry is especially in need of proteins, such as canned chicken and tuna, peanut butter, beans, rice and vegetables.