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University of Northern Colorado continues to feed students: "It feels kind of like Christmas Day"

University of Northern Colorado continues to feed students
University of Northern Colorado continues to feed students 02:07

On a sunny October morning, Lot C at the University of Northern Colorado is full. It's full of people and groceries, filling a huge need on campus.

"UNC is committed to supporting our students in their academic success, health, and well-being. We know food insecurity is a critical part of that. 47% of our students have experienced some sort of food insecurity in the last 12 months. It's a dramatic increase," said John Hancock, UNC's assistant vice president for wellness and support.

Over the past year, visits to the university's Bear Pantry, which provides food for the community, more than doubled. Thanks to a new partnership developed over the summer with the Weld Food Bank, UNC is now able to bring a mobile version of its food bank to campus monthly.

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"We've been blessed to be able to bring our mobile food pantry which beings about 10,000 pounds of perishable produce," said Stephanie Gausch, chief development officer at Weld Food Bank. "We're only able to do what we're doing because of partnerships in the community, everyone coming together to make this a true possibility. What the food bank does is a mirror image of the community's generosity and we're grateful to have this partnership."

Students and faculty who use the service say it's critical. "I'm an out-of-state student so it's really expensive," first-time visitor Kate Tran said. "My friend Quinn here was like, 'You want to go?' And I was like 'Yeah, it's free!' We're college students. We love free stuff."

Fellow master's student Quinn Zipp says a trip through the grocery line means her family has meals for weeks.

"It feels kind of like Christmas Day," she said joyfully with a laugh. "I work full-time on top of school and even then, it can still be difficult to afford groceries. I can finally have eggs for breakfast this week. I've been out of eggs. And the ground meat too, it's just impossible to buy right now. It's wonderful."

If you missed the mobile food bank on campus, don't worry. You can plan for its next visit and free distribution on November 14. You're also encouraged to email for more information.

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