"Charlie's Cupboard" to help feed USD students beginning fall 2020

VERMILLION, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - When classes start up again in this upcoming fall the students at USD will have a new place to get food in town, it’s called Charlie’s Cupboard.
Charlie’s Cupboard is an on-campus food pantry that will be available to all students who experience food insecurity.

Charlie’s Cupboard began as an idea from the Student Body President, Carson Zubke after he found out one of his friends didn’t always have enough to eat.

Zubke said, “So, I thought to myself, ‘this is one friend that I've known for three years now but I didn’t know that they were struggling with that until now. How many other students at USD are having that same experience?’”

How does it work? Zubke is hoping to have Charlie’s Cupboard open every other week starting this fall. All students have to do is show their student ID, and shop for free.

“It’s one of those projects that you don’t know campus needs it until it’s there. One in three of our students come from first-generation families or from low-income backgrounds so we really see the demand there,” Zubke added.

USD President, Sheila Gestring, believes this project can help remove the stigma behind food insecurity.

Gestring said, “I think to removing the stigma. Everyone has a tough go every once in a while, and by having Charlie’s Cupboard open to the entire population at any time I think people understand there should not be a stigma around this.”

Zubke added, “Students, and even community members, are often making the decision between do I pay for rent this month or do I buy groceries; or am I going to buy lunch or breakfast or do I buy toothpaste?”

USD will be working with Feeding South Dakota and the Food Recovery Network on campus to fill the shelves of Charlie’s Cupboard. They will also be asking for donations.

“So right now, we are asking for 250 individual donors to contribute to this project, and then Women in Philanthropy has pledged a $10,000 unlocking gift to get this project off the ground,” said Zubke.

Giving Day at USD starts Wednesday morning. If you wish to donate to Unite USD you can visit their website at unitedforusd.org.