Charlie’s Cupboard celebrates one year anniversary
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Charlie’s Cupboard celebrates one year anniversary

Charlie’s Cupboard is a student run food pantry at USD. Sept. 2, marked its first anniversary and its first day open this semester. Over 160 students attended the event. In addition to the standard products, Charlie’s Cupboard also gave out cupcakes for its first birthday and held a drawing to win water bottles.

Nathan Popp is the president of Charlie’s Cupboard and one of the founding members of the organization back in July of 2020. Popp estimated that 140 students came through Charlie’s Cupboard on the second.

“I’ll be honest, I didn’t think that food insecurity was that big of an issue at USD. And our first day open last year, we were expecting maybe 30 or 40 students to come. That first time, we had 120 students. It was kind of the eye-opening moment right there,” Popp said.

Elizabeth Heikens, a student at USD, said she went to Charlie’s Cupboard last year as well.

“I think it’s really good as far as helping students fill in the gaps of their necessities. They’re making sure like there’s a lot of basic things that are taken care of for them, and making sure that all students have access to toiletries. It doesn’t cover everything, but it helps fill in some gaps,” Heikens said.

Amanda Ranniger, the Events Manager for Charlie’s Cupboard, said the organization is operating a little differently this year with relaxed COVID-19 restrictions. Rather than having a pre-packed bag from which students could remove items they didn’t want, students now can choose items off the shelves.

Marga Block, a member of the organization, focuses on improving the student experience at Charlie’s Cupboard. Block says she is looking forward to this year and being able to connect with more students.

“People can actually go out a little bit more. We can be open like this, which I really think that students will like a lot more. We haven’t been able to get feedback because it’s the first time we’re open with grocery-style shopping. I think that people are really going to like it a lot more,” Block said.

Carter Linke, the Volunteer Service Coordinator for Charlie’s Cupboard, said he has recognized the need for a food pantry grow on Campus over the last year.

“I think a lot of us don’t realize many students are making the decision between ‘am I going to eat breakfast this morning or am I going to save my money for tuition later? Am I going to spend my money a bagel for breakfast, or am I going to spend my money on shampoo?’ Ideally, this food pantry kind of alleviates that,” Linke said.

Linke said Charlie’s Cupboard has grown to address student needs more with adding a refrigerator and freezer. He said he can only continue to see this organization grow.

“I’ve seen this grow so much in the first year,” Linke said. “We have so many advisors, so many faculty members and staff that are willing to help us make this the best that it can be.”

Popp said ideally Charlie’s Cupboard would be open more than twice a month, but that is difficult for student-run organizations when students also have their classes or other extracurriculars.

“Charlie’s Cupboard is run by students. Our whole mission is students helping students,” Popp said.

Charlie’s Cupboard is open every other Thursday and throughout the semester from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. and is located in the Center for Continuing Education, west of North Complex.