Four years ago Maria Canales, Facilities department assistant, and the student health nurse at Kirkwood Community College noticed an innate need for access to food among their patients. They noticed that oftentimes students came in not feeling well or nauseous because they hadn’t eaten anything all day whether they couldn’t afford it, didn’t have enough time to go shopping or some other reason that didn’t matter to Canales.
She and the nurse began bringing in canned food and snacks for their patients to eat when they needed food. Eventually it grew to become a cabinet with an assortment of non-perishable food that was brought by a wide range of staff.
Four years later the pantry is now filled to the brim with food and other supplies needed by students. It is even decked out with a freezer and fridge for perishable items.
Student Support Supervisor Mialisa Wright is one of the few people in charge of the food pantry and it’s administration. According to Wright, the pantry helps students in their time of need. “The reason the food pantry is important to our campus is because it provides not only traditional but also non-traditional students’ food when they might not have time to grocery shop or might have to stay on campus and study,” she said. “It also helps offset costs for students that may be in between jobs who need to be able to move their funds towards something else and sometimes food comes as the second responsibility.”
The food pantry offers a wide range of options for all Kirkwood students from food that is perishable and nonperishable to diapers and breast feeding equipment for mothers to toiletries and other household necessities.
Students can walk in and sign-in on a computer in the food pantry or they can schedule an appointment at www.kirkwood.edu/foodpantry. “Student’s interact great. It’s set up so that they can either walkin or they can schedule a pick-up time where we have non-perishable items in a bag and they can shop for perishable items when they arrive,” Wright said.
The food pantry gets 98% of their supplies from the HACAP food reservoir in Hiawatha and other supplies from Veritas Church here in Cedar Rapids or grants and department funds.
Many of the staff who work at the food pantry are eager to help students in need of food and other supplies. “It is great to help those students who may be in different situations that need to focus their funds on something else and have access to food,” Wright said.
Personal hygiene items
Refrigerated and frozen goods
Cedar Hall 2098
M-F 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Iowa City Campus
Tues. noon – 5 p.m.
Wed. 8 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Thurs. noon – 5 p.m.
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Liam is attending Kirkwood to major in Journalism and Mass Communications to transfer to the University of Iowa.