College-Hastings students may be traditional or nontraditional. Some live on
campus and others commute. And some of them are facing food insecurity, a term
used to describe people who have unreliable access to adequate, nutritious and
In an effort to address this issue, CCC-Hastings opened
the Central Closet in January. It is a pantry open to all CCC students who are
having trouble meeting basic needs such as food or hygienic items.
Dr. Susan Oliver, nutrition instructor, came up with the
idea and researched it as part of a back-to-industry experience.
She also was knowledgeable about local efforts to address
food insecurity. She has packed food into backpacks for Food4Thought, a community
program in Hastings that addresses food insecurity involving kids in
kindergarten through the fifth grade. She also was familiar with the programs
offered in Hastings by community organizations, government agencies, churches
and Hastings College.
“We have now joined their ranks,” Oliver said. “We
started discussing a year ago if there was a need for a food pantry on our
campus because we would hear of students who couldn’t afford to buy groceries.
Then it was a question of how to go about making it happen.”
The answer was teamwork. Faculty and staff members came
together to clean out a closet in the Dawson Building. Students from the
Hastings Campus chapters of the National Society for Leadership and Success and
Phi Theta Kappa honorary society organized food and hygiene drives to help
stock the shelves.
Right now, the closet includes – and accepts donations of
– nonperishable food as well as hygienic items such as toilet paper, deodorant,
razors and laundry detergent. There are no set hours, but three Dawson Building
employees have volunteered to open the closet when needed. Students can call or
email them to set up a time.
“We’re very flexible and will work with them,” Oliver
said. “We let them take what they need and we don’t take their names.”
In the future, Oliver would like to find the funds for a
freezer to put in the closet. She’d also like to provide vouchers so people can
buy eggs, milk and bread at the grocery store.
“And I’d like to provide recipes to the participants in
hope that they will make healthy meals with the foods from the closet,” Oliver
In the meantime, the Central Closet is open for business.
Students who need access to the closet or individuals who want to make a food,
hygiene or cash donation may contact Lauren Slaughter at 402-460-2195; Lydia
Lough at 402-460-2573; or Susan Oliver at 402-461-2404.
Grand Island Campus
The Grand Island Campus also has a food and hygiene pantry that provides similar items as the Hastings Campus and welcomes donations.
Students who need access to the pantry or individuals who want to make a donation may call Rhett Psota at (308) 398-7522, A.J. Hodtwalker at (308) 398-7529 or Nick Freelend at (308) 398-7417.