Students In Need Helped By Food Pantry At MSUB

Feb 7, 2018

It is a startling statistic. A third of students at Montana State University-Billings said they have experienced times when they did not have enough food. And this food insecurity is a barrier to achieving a college degree.

A student needs assessment conducted during the Spring 2016 semester by the Food Insecurity Committee on campus found 34% of students reported not having enough food for themselves or their household, and 26 percent reported having had skipped a meal because the lack of food.

Student Engagement Dean Kathy Kotecki said these are barriers to an education.  

Food and security are a significant challenge for many students,” said Kotecki. “ If students don’t have these basic needs this becomes an challenge for them to be successful in the classroom.”

To meet these basic needs, MSUB created the Yellowjacket Emergency Pantry, both on the main campus and  at City College.

The  pantry is stocked with canned meats, vegetables, soups and pastas as well as hygiene products like soaps, shampoos, conditioner and razors.

And there are other resources said Kristen Peterman, Campus Activities and Engagement Director.

“When students come in and fill out their forms to use the emergency pantry we also provide other resources for them to help them so they know we are here to provide support for them and there’s other things they can do”

This semester a new state grant has helped with other funding.

“Whether it is assisting with book needs or they have a car break  down and they need assistance because all of those things factor in their ability to get to MSU-Billings to our campus and to be successful in and out of the classroom, Kotecki said. “ What seem minor are big barriers for students when we look at retention data and why students drop out.”

Those connected to the pantry praise the campus community, and the community-at-large for their generosity in donating funds and items, including $8,000 donation from the Yellowstone Rim Runners from Run Turkey Run.

Other Montana campuses are joining the effort to provide for these basic needs.

Montana State University in October started Bounty of the Bridgers, a pop-up food pantry  in partnership with the Gallatin County Food Bank. And the University of Montana is investigating opening a food pantry in the Student Union, possibly in the fall.

   It is a startling statistic. A third of students at Montana State University-Billings said they have experienced times when they did not have enough food. And this food insecurity is a barrier to achieving a college degree.

A student needs assessment conducted during the Spring 2016 semester by the Food Insecurity Committee on campus found 34% of students reported not having enough food for themselves or their household, and 26 percent reported having had skipped a meal because the lack of food.

Student Engagement Dean Kathy Kotecki said these are barriers to an education.  

Food and security are a significant challenge for many students,” said Kotecki. “ If students don’t have these basic needs this becomes an challenge for them to be successful in the classroom.”

To meet these basic needs, MSUB created the Yellowjacket Emergency Pantry, both on the main campus and  at City College.

The  pantry is stocked with canned meats, vegetables, soups and pastas as well as hygiene products like soaps, shampoos, conditioner and razors.

And there are other resources said Kristen Peterman, Campus Activities and Engagement Director.

“When students come in and fill out their forms to use the emergency pantry we also provide other resources for them to help them so they know we are here to provide support for them and there’s other things they can do”

This semester a new state grant has helped with other funding.

“Whether it is assisting with book needs or they have a car break  down and they need assistance because all of those things factor in their ability to get to MSU-Billings to our campus and to be successful in and out of the classroom, Kotecki said. “ What seem minor are big barriers for students when we look at retention data and why students drop out.”

Those connected to the pantry praise the campus community, and the community-at-large for their generosity in donating funds and items, including $8,000 donation from the Yellowstone Rim Runners from Run Turkey Run.

Other Montana campuses are joining the effort to provide for these basic needs.

Montana State University in October started Bounty of the Bridgers, a pop-up food pantry  in partnership with the Gallatin County Food Bank. And the University of Montana is investigating opening a food pantry in the Student Union, possibly in the fall.