Anoka-Ramsey Community College’s food shelves serving both the Coon Rapids and Cambridge campuses recently received a $5,000 grant through the Minnesota COVID Food Fund Grant to help meet the growing need for basic resources such as food and personal hygiene items among students.
Food shelves at Anoka-Ramsey operate with the mission of alleviating food hardship at the college by offering free, nutritious food to students. Especially during the challenging times of the COVID-19 pandemic, Anoka-Ramsey is dedicated to helping reduce hunger to empower our students to continue their education. Having access to basic needs like food and hygiene products allows students to focus on their health and academic success.
“So many students are attempting to work, go to school and balance caring for young children and other dependents. Others are caring for sick loved ones and many are missing loved ones they are not able to visit,” stated Lindsey Schiller, Anoka-Ramsey Campus Foundation development director, “All of this is taking place while facing the arduous task of maintaining food and other supplies.”
Through this grant, $5,000 will be used for non-perishable food items including culturally specific foods, personal hygiene supplies such as shampoo, lotion, soap, conditioner and feminine products, and other supplies needed to follow public health guidelines.
“It takes a community to serve our students,” said Schiller, “These funds are greatly appreciated, especially coming from our students.”
Anoka-Ramsey’s food shelves have operated on both campuses since the 2018-2019 academic year. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the Cambridge Food Shelf was always open when campus was open. The Coon Rapids Campus Food Shelf, the Campus Cupboard, was open the last Tuesday and Wednesday of each month.
Since the pandemic, to ensure the safety of the college’s staff and students, the food shelves converted to a grab-and-go distribution. Bags of food and personal hygiene items are prepackaged and placed at the main entrance of each campus monthly and remain until they are gone.
During the fall semester to date, Anoka-Ramsey has distributed over 300 bags of food and over 100 hygiene bags.
Items purchased through the grant funds are being provided by The Food Group and will be available for students at Grab-and-Go distributions on both campuses beginning Wednesday, Jan. 20.