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A Full Fridge: DU Food Pantry Partners with Sodexo

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Emma Atkinson

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Campus Life  •
Photo of colorful handmade sign that reads "DU Food Pantry."

Thanks to research conducted by the University of Denver’s Health and Counseling Services, it's evident that some DU students experience food insecurity. In other words, these students may not have enough to eat on a regular basis.

The DU Food Pantry aims to help these students by offering no-cost food to anyone with a DU identification number—and a new partnership with official University meal service provider Sodexo is ensuring that students will have access to more than just shelf-stable foods.

The agreement means that Sodexo will provide at least 20 pounds of fresh, unused produce to the Food Pantry every week.

And in the first week, Sodexo went above and beyond.

“Our first day went great,” says program manager Derek Brannon. “Sodexo delivered 40 pounds of produce, and we now have a fully stocked fridge.”

Brannon and the Food Pantry received 15 pounds each of Brussels sprouts, asparagus and zucchini, plus 10 pounds of fresh salad greens.

Photo of a white fridge filled to the brim with fresh green produce.

Brannon says the impact on the Food Pantry community was immediate.

“On Monday, when we received that huge donation, I noticed this regular family of international students that comes in all the time,” he says. “Because the pantry had been closed for a week, I went and just grabbed them produce, and they were so thankful to have that.”

Brannon says internal surveys have shown that the resources provided by the Food Pantry allows DU community members to purchase other necessities that they wouldn’t otherwise have the means to do.

“It's huge for them, and it feels great for us,” Brannon says. “We’ve really figured out this year that [food insecurity] is something that not one team can solve. It's going to take the entire campus to sort of coalesce around this issue.”

Brannon and his team say demand for food has increased four-fold since the Pantry moved to its new location in the Driscoll South building.

The items that are most in demand at the Pantry are as follows: rice, lentils, pasta, pasta sauce, cooking oil, sugar, peanut butter, jam, salt and pepper, milk and milk substitutes, canned vegetables, canned fruit, canned beans, canned soup and shelf-stable snacks like granola bars, nuts and popcorn.

The DU Food Pantry accepts monetary donations and donations of shelf-stable foods. To donate funds, text DUFOODPANTRY to 41444. Food donations can be dropped off outside the Pantry’s new location below the bridge in Driscoll South.  

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