As many students manage the rigors of their academic careers, they often find themselves enamored with a myriad of course assignments, experiential learning projects, balancing student workloads, and engaging socially.
Therefore, “a full plate” for some might be considered a generous description of their lives. However, there remains one looming concern that a relatively growing number of students carry across the country in addition to the pressures that come with navigating their education – that is food insecurity.
Some Kirkwood students find themselves sharing a similar situation.
As a result, the college established food pantries on both the main campus and the Iowa City campus to address such needs, which allows any currently enrolled Kirkwood student to utilize the service once each week by visiting an online portal where students designate a pre-selected day and time when they plan to acquire food.
“The majority of our pantry users are students with children, families, low-income, first-generation and immigrants,” said Margorie Gutierrez, one of the college’s Equity in Student Success Coaches and Food Pantry Specialist at the Iowa City campus.
“The culturally diverse clients we serve, [some of which are from various countries] have different food needs from the traditional student,” she said.
“Their needs include fresh fruits and vegetables,” Gutierrez added. This specific need makes the food collection process slightly more challenging and vastly different from the immediate needs of students on the main campus.
While the Iowa City food pantry served 57,995 pounds of food and had a total of 2,412 student visits for the 2021-2022 academic year, maintaining the service has its concerns.
“Due to supply chain issues and the increasing cost of food, we’ve seen a significant drop in the overall amount of food that’s donated to our pantry,” Gutierrez said. “What this means for the students that use our pantry is, less food is available.”
Data from the college’s main campus indicates that 1,157 were served during the same year. Moreover, their students average two visits per month – slightly fewer visits than those in Iowa City. However, the peak season is between the months of August and November. Since September 2022, the pantry has provided 4,843 pounds of found to 236 unique students.
According to Health Affairs, the peer-reviewed journal on healthcare and health policy, federal policies that addresses the needs of students facing food shortages are often inconsistent and fail to fully fill in the gaps and meet the on-going needs of students with food limitations. As a result, many colleges such as Kirkwood seek alternative measures such as maintaining well-stocked food pantries.
Food pantry locations
Iowa Hall 3038
Monday – Friday,
8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Iowa City Campus
Check in at the Student Services window
Tuesday, 1 – 4:30 p.m.
Wednesday, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Thursday, 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Friday, noon – 4:30 p.m.