COLUMN: Crimson Cupboard — helping students get by


Imagine waking up for class in the morning, and you’re greeted by a view through a windshield. Every day we’re privileged enough to wake up in our dorms, houses or apartments. We get ourselves ready with items like shampoo, soap and toothpaste, but we don’t stop to think how fortunate we are to have such mundane necessitates available to us.

Many students right here on this very campus don’t have access to any of these simple necessities. Many don’t even have food. Thankfully, we have organizations like the Crimson Cupboard to help provide these students with the food and basic necessities we all take for granted.

People come to college in search of a better life, and in some situations, they’re not able to afford housing or even food. Some of these students have no other option than to live out of their cars.

Imagine waking up, going to class, working for your degree and ending the day by searching for a place you can park and sleep without getting hassled. These students have come to get their degrees as quickly as possible and are remarkably determined to do so. Even if it means they must endure such harsh living conditions.

You’d be hard-pressed to spot students of these circumstances in crowds at IU. A student that just woke up in his or her car one morning may be sitting next to you in a lecture hall or even working with you on a group project later that day.

We all assume we have nice, comfortable homes to go home to or food and basic hygienic products to use, but that’s not the case for everyone.

The mission of the Crimson Cupboard is to help these students in need. The student organization intends to relieve students of food insecurity by providing them with donated food and basic hygienic products.

They give items we take for granted to students who need them. These are items many of us wouldn’t even notice we need until we run out and need to buy more.

Since many of us are fortunate enough to have scholarships or our parents paying for our college, we take a lot for granted. Our next meal is expected, and we don’t put much thought into what we have to do to get it.

For other students, finding their next meal isn’t nearly as routinely simple. Fortunately the people of IU and Bloomington are doing their part to see these students fed and properly equipped to work towards their degrees.

Housemother of my fraternity, Sigma Chi, Cheryl Pate is doing her part to spread awareness for these students in need. Pate hopes to bring representatives of the Crimson Cupboard into the fraternity house during a dinner to help the students realize just how thankful they should be for the food in front of them and roof over their heads.  

She hopes the presentation will inspire them to give and help in any way possible.

“I’m hoping that a lot of these young men that don’t think about where their next meal is coming from realize how lucky they are,” Pate said. “They see these students on campus, and they don’t advertise that they’re homeless or need to find somewhere to take a shower. I’m trying to spread awareness to help them.”

As IU’s first food pantry, the Crimson Cupboard has a huge weight on its shoulders. Thankfully, like Pate and many others, we can all do our part to help out.

The Crimson Cupboard accepts assistance in the form of volunteers and donations. It's in need of rice, pasta, canned vegetables, pasta sauce, canned meats, peanut butter, jelly, soy milk, canned fruits, oatmeal, cereal and personal hygiene products.

You can go to its website at crimsoncupboard.indiana.edu to learn more about what you can do to help your fellow Hoosiers.

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