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Aggie Cupboard fights hunger with new support from NMSU

A major resource to New Mexico State University, focused on battling food insecurities, collected a $9,000 gift to aid in the fight from the NMSU Foundation this week.


Seven people standing with a giant check.
Aggie Cupboard volunteers alongside Meg Long (third from left) accept a $9,000 gift made possible from funds raised on Giving Tuesday from Provost Daniel Howard, his wife Jennifer and Chancellor Garrey Carruthers

Aggie Cupboard, a food pantry that provides bags of nutritious, non-perishable food items to students and employees in need at NMSU and Dona Ana Community College, received this investment as a result of the University’s third-annual Giving Tuesday on Nov. 28.

With the help of alumni and friends, along with matching pledges from NMSU administrators, including Provost Daniel Howard and his wife Jennifer, several supporters raised more than $8,000 on Giving Tuesday. While presenting the check to Aggie Cupboard volunteers this week, Chancellor Garrey Carruthers and his wife Kathy announced they would make an additional $1,000 contribution on behalf of the entire NMSU system for its continued efforts in being a caring community.

This funding will help Aggie Cupboard continue to address a growing problem at NMSU. A 2011 study conducted by NMSU Social Work Services found that more than a third of students surveyed said they had to choose between paying bills or getting groceries at least once, and one in five students said that hunger regularly affected their grades or ability to concentrate.

“New Mexico is ranked high among other states when it comes to food insecurity,” said Meg Long, a program specialist for NMSU social services and Aggie Cupboard. “NMSU strives to ensure that all of our students enjoy equal access to an education and succeed on campus, and we believe Aggie Cupboard is one way of proving that mission. We’re grateful that our University community continues to show how passionate they are in ending this problem.”

Long said each dollar the pantry receives can be stretched into one full meal for a student or employee in need. This past Spring, volunteers served 185 clients with 355 bags of food, bringing impact totals since the pantry’s launch in 2012 to more than 3,500 bags that have helped ease food shortages.

NMSU Foundation President Andrea Tawney and other leaders in the fundraising office see Aggie Cupboard’s growing impact. On Giving Tuesday, Tawney alongside Associate Vice Presidents Leslie Cervantes and Justin Bannister and NMSU Foundation Chief Operating Officer Tina Byford, offered a personal pledge to match their staff’s contributions to the Aggie Cupboard on Giving Tuesday.

“We see our team work as one unit every single day to serve our students,” Tawney said. “We believe giving is an act we should not only talk about but also one we should do. We’re proud of the work they carried out on Giving Tuesday and appreciate their devotion to efforts like the Aggie Cupboard that make a significant difference in the lives of our NMSU family.”

In total, Giving Tuesday raised more than $2.5 million for the University system from 1,700 donors, including 583 NMSU system faculty and staff donors.

The Aggie Cupboard needs donations of food, funds and volunteer time all year. Non-perishable food items can be dropped off from 9:30 to 11 a.m. on Tuesdays and 1 to 3 p.m. on Thursdays at 906 Gregg St. in Las Cruces. Tax-deductible monetary gifts can be made any time at giving.nmsu.edu by specifying Aggie Cupboard as the fund for the gift.

Aggie Cupboard will be closed during NMSU’s winter break, Dec. 19 through Jan. 1, and will reopen on Jan. 2. Food is distributed from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Tuesdays, 3 to 6 p.m. on Thursdays or by appointment at 906 Gregg St. in Las Cruces. Anyone with a current NMSU identification card may use this resource.

For more information about Aggie Cupboard, including volunteer opportunities, contact aggiecupboard@nmsu.edu or call 575-646-7636.