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SOCO Student Media from Colorado State University Pueblo

The Today

SOCO Student Media from Colorado State University Pueblo

The Today

SOCO Student Media from Colorado State University Pueblo

The Today

Pack Pantry and Career Closet Offers Free Resources

Holly Ward
The Pack Pantry has numerous shelves, a freezer and a fridge containing food that students can take for free.

Colorado State University Pueblo offers free groceries and free clothing to students through two of its campus resources: the Pack Pantry and Career Closet.

Located in the basement level of the Occhiato Student Center (OSC), Room 007, the Pack Pantry is open from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Thursday. To access the Pack Pantry, students can go to the office for Student Support & Advocacy, also known as The Center, located in the OSC, Room 104. The employees will take anyone to the Pack Pantry to access its supplies.

To access the Career Closet, students can go to The Center, or they can also go to the office of the Career Center, located on the third floor of the Library and Academic Resources Center (LARC) in Room 360. A student employee also will unlock the door to the Career Closet so any student can access those resources.

The Career Closet houses clothing racks with clothes ranging from business casual to semi-formal wear. (Photo by Holly Ward)

“The Pack Pantry started as a student-led project in January 2014. It then was adopted by the Student Engagement and Leadership (SEAL) department, where they were in charge for years. Then, in 2023, it was adopted by The Center in OSC 104,” said Celeste Molina, who is the lead for the Pack Pantry.

The Pack Pantry is stocked with foods with long shelf lives, frozen foods and drinks. These resources are provided by Care and Share in Pueblo, which is one of the food banks, which distributes food across Southern Colorado.

The outside door to the Pack Pantry is shown open to welcome any student, faculty and community members. (Photo by Holly Ward)

“One day, I hope to see the pantry grow in size and equipment. We now have a fridge and a freezer, but we are still limited in what we can bring due to space capacity. We are also updating the way the students can access the pantry. We are working toward getting swipe access in the future,” Molina said.

While there is technically not a limit to the number of things people can take from the Pack Pantry, people are reminded that there are others who need the resources, too, so they should not be greedy in what they are taking.

“Some of the things that I face in conversations with students since I’ve been in the Pueblo region is that there are a lot of people that are food insecure, clothing insecure, and housing insecure. Fulfilling some of those basic needs is a great service,” said Sheila Young, Career Center Internship Coordinator at CSU Pueblo.

The Career Closet is a room located next door to the Pack Pantry, for students, faculty and members of the CSU Pueblo community to shop for free. The clothes within the Career Closet range from business casual to semi-formal wear.

The Career Closet has a wide selection of ties that students can take for free. (Photo by Holly Ward)

Shantel Frazier is the assistant director of the Career Center. She oversees the Career Closet and handles the collection of donations, inventory and upkeep.

“The Career Closet was originally established in 2020 during the pandemic by former Director Michelle Gjerde. She raised $27,000 for the space and construction of the Career Closet,” Frazier said.

The Career Center accepts donations for the Career Closet. It typically receives about three donations a month. It asks that people bring their clothing donations clean and on hangers to make the process of getting these resources to those who need them easier.

“We also have a partnership with JCPenney in the spring and fall semesters called the Suit-Up event, where students, faculty, staff, and alumni can get up to 50 percent off business casual attire. We use Give Day donation funds to purchase clothing for the Career Closet at the event,” Frazier said.

The Career Center’s hope for the Career Closet’s future success is to continue to have the resource open and available for students. It hopes to create events such as a fashion show and “how-to-dress for an interview” workshop.

Both the Pack Pantry and Career Closet are campus resources that are free and open to students. These resources fight clothing and food insecurity and its organizers hope that students can save money by utilizing these resources.

A flier advertising the Pack Pantry’s hours hangs on a window within the Culebra Residence Hall. (Photo by Holly Ward)
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