The Campus Cupboard at Missouri Western was established in 2015, and since then has continued to give students free food with help from the Rotaract Club. The cupboard is located in Blum 214 and all of the food in the pantry is donated for students with valid ID.
Every Tuesday and Thursday from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. the cupboard is open for students to come in and take a maximum of two plastic grocery bags up to twice per month.
Director of Choral Activities and Music Education and Rotaract advisor Elise Hepworth, had a food pantry at the previous university she worked at and wanted to bring the idea to Western. She felt it would be beneficial for not only the students’ physical health but for their concentration during classes.
“People joke about eating meal after meal of only ramen noodles, or skipping meals altogether because bills must be paid and money must be used elsewhere, [but] how can we expect students to learn if they are hungry? It is hard for me to teach when I am hungry, and it is important to me that our students have a source for food when they can’t make ends meet,” Hepworth said.
The Rotaract Club is the main reason that the food pantry can stay in business on campus. The cupboard consists of about a dozen volunteers that volunteer their time to help out those who need it.
Rotaract president Eva Mashel Keplinger helps with the cupboard and is a vocal music education and music major with an emphasis in performance at Western.
“Student and faculty organizations, local businesses, and many individuals are the reason why the pantry always has food for students. And Second Harvest is great at helping us out if we get particularly low on something.” Keplinger said.
Esther Mason, a volunteer at the cupboard, sees the benefit for students who don’t have access to a wide variety of foods.
“There’s a very big selection to choose from and they’re all very good quality foods,” Mason said. “I just think it’s great to have it there for anyone who needs it.”
If you are willing to volunteer or want to help out the Campus Cupboard, please visit https://orgs.missouriwestern.edu/rotaract/campus-cupboard/ or email Hepworth at firstname.lastname@example.org.