St. Cloud State University’s Huskies Food Pantry held a grand re-opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony on Nov. 28 in the main lounge of Case-Hill Hall to celebrate and showcase new additions and remodels made to the pantry.
This summer, the Huskies Food Pantry entered into an agreement with 501c3 non-profit humanitarian organization Hope for the Community and its President and CEO Dr. Alan Goracke, an alumnus of St. Cloud State. The partnership helped in remodeling the Huskies Food Pantry, adding two refrigerators and two freezers provided by Hope for the Community to allow for fresh and frozen food items to be offered to students for the first time. Since the beginning of October, the Huskies Food Pantry has distributed an average of 2,200 pounds of food to 140 St. Cloud State students per week.
The grand re-opening celebration featured a program with remarks made by St. Cloud State President Robbyn Wacker, Department of Campus Involvement Director of Civic Engagement and Assessment Christa Hayes, Dean of Students Jen Matzke, Dr. Goracke, and Social Work master’s student and Intern at the Huskies Food Pantry Smriti Shrestha.
“It’s great to celebrate the grand re-opening of the Huskies Food Pantry,” President Wacker said during the ceremony. “It also gives us an opportunity to recognize those responsible for improving and expanding this significant resource that supports learning, supports wellness and also provides our students the opportunity to stay enrolled and continue their education by providing nutritious food options. Vitally important work goes on here.
“I am delighted and proud to celebrate the expansion of another resource that our students and supports our commitment to strengthening our campus environment that prioritizes diversity, equity and inclusion, and taking care of each and every student that is a St. Cloud State Husky.”
During the program, St. Cloud State recognized and thanked Hope for the Community and Dr. Goracke, the Huskies Food Pantry Advisory team and others, as well as St. Cloud State Facilities Management for their work in assisting in remodeling the pantry. A ribbon cutting and tours of the pantry followed the program.
The Huskies Food Pantry supports learning, wellness and student retention by providing free nutritious food options to all St. Cloud State students. Students can visit the Huskies Food Pantry in Hill Hall Room 190 each week to select from a variety of shelf-stable, fresh, and frozen food items.
“It’s a big honor for me to be a part of what’s happening at St. Cloud State. The food shelf that we have here is what I would call a transformational food shelf,” Dr. Goracke said. “The students here are able to take the food home with them and get to the root of food insecurity which is right in the family. It’s a great honor we are able to set up a food shelf here.”
The Huskies Food Pantry is stocked by generous donations and purchases from regional food bank partner Second Harvest Heartland and is sponsored by Hope for the Community. Pantry operations are based in the Department of Campus Involvement which is within the Division of Student Affairs.
“What I said as an alumnus was ‘why not St. Cloud State University? Why can’t we have one of the best food shelves in the country?’,” Dr. Goracke continued. “This is the power of people coming together to serve. We are just part of the team here at St. Cloud State.”
History of Huskies Food Pantry
The Huskies Food Pantry opened in January 2020, originally housed in various locations around campus including the Education Building and the James W. Miller Learning Resource Center before moving to its current location in Hill Hall Room 190.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the pantry moved to online ordering and contactless pickup, increasing the number of students being served due to the impact of the pandemic. During the 2021-22 academic school year, the pantry served 432 unique students a total of 15,234 pounds of food. During the summer of 2022, the pantry moved away from online ordering and went to a walk-in service model. Since the beginning of the fall 2022 semester, the Huskies Food Pantry has served 662 unique students a total of 14,928 pounds of food, already surpassing the total number of students served last year.
Huskies Food Pantry Grand Re-Opening Photo Gallery