In the heart of Downtown Denver, students face food insecurity on a daily basis. Resources on Auraria Campus and at MSU Denver are doing what they can to address the issue.
MSU Denver’s Roadrunner Food Pantry is available for all MSU Denver students who are enrolled in at least one credit, and it is designed for anyone to be able to come in and grab a snack, meal or whatever they need to get them through the school day. The food pantry is open three days a week, but Erica Quintana-Garcia, a case management coordinator at MSU Denver, said food is available to students even when the pantry is closed, and students can take as much as they want.
“On a day we’re not open, if someone needs food, they can come upstairs to our office and we have a smaller storage of food up here that we give people,” said Quintana-Garcia. “They can stop in on Tuesday and get food all week if they want, they can stop in and get a snack. It’s really up to the student how much they wanna get.”
Many students who utilize the Roadrunner Food Pantry are also utilizing off-campus resources, such as Metro Caring. Quintana-Garcia said the issue of student hunger is rising in Denver, and many offices at MSU Denver are trying to tackle it.
“The numbers are kind of coming to light to show that it’s a huge issue, and one that we really need to pay attention to and address,” Quintana-Garcia said. “Our leadership has kind of put this as an area that we wanna focus on.”
MSU Denver’s Student Government Assembly is addressing food and housing insecurity on campus. On Sept. 23, SGA President Danielle Holmes testified before the Senate Higher Education Committee at the State Capitol about the struggles that MSU Denver students are facing. SGA has partnered with the Roadrunner Food Pantry to bring awareness to the situation.
The Roadrunner Food pantry also partnered with the Department of Hospitality, Events and Tourism to make soup for hungry students.
“We received some black beans from the Food Bank of the Rockies, but they came in, like, 7-pound bags and they were frozen, so students weren’t really taking them,” said Lyly Padron, a work study employee at the food pantry. She said the Department of HEaT offered to make black bean soup and freeze them in smaller bags, so students could thaw them or heat them up in a microwave anywhere on campus and eat them at anytime.
The soup was made by students for students in need, which Padron said was really convenient and a way to complete the cycle.
Another resource for hungry students on campus is Los Molinos, a family-run Mexican restaurant. Co-owner and manager Sergio Perez said they make large batches of breakfast burritos every morning and give away the leftovers starting at 7 p.m. They also offer daily specials, such as burritos for $3.50 on Mondays, $1 tacos on Tuesdays and a tostada special on Wednesdays.
“Every day, we have a special because we understand as college students, there are daily expenses, so we wanna be something that’s not too expensive for you to get,” Perez said. “Anybody that loves Mexican food can stop on by, and we’ll get you fed.”