What is the Colonel's Cupboard?
The Colonel’s Cupboard opened in 2014 as an initiative of the Office of Student Life and First-Year Experience to address the food insecurity issues that students at Eastern Kentucky University faced. The Cupboard originally was housed in a small one bedroom apartment that was formally married and family housing. In 2016, the Cupboard was relocated to the second flood of Commonwealth Hall in the former Residence Hall Coordinator three bedroom apartment. This location had a larger space for more stock and is easier to access for students.
Donations were originally collected from various campus departments, students, and local partnerships. Originally, the Cupboard partnered with the Gods Outreach and Grace Now food pantries in Richmond so that no student would go without food while the stock was built up during the first year of operation. Today, the Cupboard is able to sustain itself with large-scale campus food drives and donations from several local churches. The partnership with Gods Outreach and Grace Now remain intact so that any excess food from campus drives are donated to these organizations, and students seeking more assistance can reach out.
The Cupboard is overseen by the Coordinator of Registered Student Organizations and Community Service in the Office of Student Life and First-Year Experience. The day-to-day operations are overseen by an AmeriCorps VISTA member, who works with clients and volunteers throughout the work week. Weekly service projects allow for students, faculty, staff, and community members to assist in sorting food donations and other essential tasks in the Cupboard.
During breaks where campus is closed, EKU Housing will keep food boxes on hand in dorms that are open all year to ensure that students staying on campus have access to food if needed. These breaks include spring break, winter break, etc. The dorms that remain open vary each year. It is the current VISTA’s responsibility to reach out to EKU Housing and figure out the appropriate dorms and get the food boxes distributed.
During the 2018-2019 school year, a few changes were implemented. First, the Cupboard began offering clothing and toiletry items. Students now have full access to food, toiletry items, and clothing. Also, the Cupboard switched from offering food boxes only to a “shopping model” where students can come in the Cupboard and select the items that they need themselves. This model allows for client choice and better accommodates any food allergies students may have.
- 1 in 6 EKU students experience food insecurity during the first semester on campus
- 21% of EKU students might need food assistance at some point during their college experience
- 10% of EKU students could benefit from regular food pantry assistance.
What does the Cupboard do?
The Colonel’s Cupboard at Eastern Kentucky University is a service of Student Life that provides food, toiletries, and clothing to currently enrolled students of the University (full or part-time) in need. The Cupboard will provide any student, who is worried or concerned about food security with food, clothing, and toiletry items, as well as connect them to other local services to help with long term challenges they may be facing.
What is Food Insecurity?
Food insecurity - defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as including both physical and economic access to food that meets people's dietary needs- has been on the rise for the past several years. It touches all students - undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students. WHO states food security is built on: 1. food availability (sufficient quantities of food available on a consistent basis); 2. food access (having sufficient resources to obtain appropriate foods for a nutritious diet; and 3. food use (appropriate use based on knowledge of basic nutrition and care).
Individuals can fall on a specturum of food security:
- Food Secure - they know where there next meal will come from, and they have access to a nutritionally sustaining meal.
- Marginally Food Secure - where although someone has access to food, they are experiencing anxiety about where there next meal may come from
- Food Insecurity - where students are decreasing there food intake, skipping meals, or eating less nutritionally valuable meals due to external forces (for example, working less hours at work due to illness, a change in employment, or a veterans benefit check not arriving when it was scheduled to).
Why is nutrition important?
It is a fact that brain function and nutrition are linked. Improper or insufficient nutrition leads to a lack of energy and concentration. You cannot be at your academic best if you’re hungry! And you can’t live solely on coffee and energy drinks!
Could you use some help?
To obtain items from the Cupboard, simply fill out an Intake Form by clicking the request assistance tab or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also drop in to the Cupboard itself at Commonwealth Hall, 2nd Floor and fill out the forms in person.
What Else Does the Cupboard Offer?
The Colonel's Cupboard also acts as a referral source for students. There are a multitude of resources both on campus and outside of campus that students have access to. These resources can be found on the attached document at the bottom of this page.
What other local resources can I access?
There are multiple resources available in both Madison County and our surrounding counties. You can find a complete list at the document attached to the bottom of this page!
To the extent permitted by Kentucky law, confidentiality of students receiving assistance is protected. .