In early spring 2021, the National College Health Assessment surveyed 10,000 randomly selected Kansas State students, revealing about 40 percent of students suffer from food insecurity.
The survey also found 61.3 percent of students reported high or marginal food security, while 24.3 percent reported low food security and 14.4 percent reported very low food security.
Morrison Family Director of Cats’ Cupboard Shelly Williams said the survey shows the need for the center.
“According to the NCHA survey, there is an obvious need for the products that Cats’ Cupboard provides,” Williams said. “With continued donation drives, people can continue to show up.”
Fifty percent of Cats’ Cupboard products come from individuals, groups and organizations. However, Williams said there are still some things donors do not know when it comes to donating.
“We recently inserted a link onto our home page that allows people interested in hosting a donation drive to register online,” Williams said. “We inserted this link because it helps us be sure we have enough volunteers to help unload, and it helps us keep track of the total number of drives.”
Alpha Chi Omega sorority recently hosted a canned food drive from April 11-14 called “Canstruction.” The event was not registered online.
Rebekah McLean, junior in elementary education and community relations director for Alpha Chi Omega, planned the donation drive and said she was not aware of the online registration at the time.
“We thought our sorority would just collect the cans and then deliver them to Cats’ Cupboard,” McLean said. “We did not think there was a process with preferred steps to take, but I will make a note to register online next year.”
Williams said there are several benefits to registering online, even though it is not a requirement.
“We certainly won’t turn people away if they do not register online,” Williams said. “It just helps us better accommodate the donors and allows us the opportunity to provide the drive hosts with an updated list of the Cupboard’s biggest needs.”
Kelsey Sutton, sophomore in psychology, conflict analysis & trauma, and a Cats’ Cupboard employee, said donation drives are not only for canned food.
“I don’t think people realize how much we need hygiene drives,” Sutton said. “Our hygiene items go very fast, and we are always in need of those items; though whatever donation drive is done we really appreciate it.”
Sutton said the online registration is supposed to help with keeping records of old donation drives and make them easily manageable.
According to a handout from Williams, Cats’ Cupboard had 3,102 unique visitors in 2021. A unique visitor is a guest counted once a month no matter the number of times they shop. In the past two months, the cupboard has already had 757 unique visitors.
Williams said keeping cans of food, gently used utensils, personal hygiene products and school supplies on the shelves provides K-State students with access to nutritious food and healthy well-being.