Jordan has been experiencing food insecurity while pursuing a degree at Aims Community College. More than once, Arty’s Pantry, the on-campus food bank, has helped her with much needed groceries, hygiene products and school supplies.
Jordan started using the pantry for occasional snacking, and became more needful of it when she moved in with her family to stay close to Aims. Arty’s Pantry then provided essential food for Jordan and her grandfather. In 2021, Jordan’s granddad passed away, making her financial situation more difficult as she was then figuring out how to pay for all of her expenses herself.
“I’ve always felt like Arty’s Pantry is something that students need. As a student who has to take care of myself, it’s tough to live on your own and pay grown-up bills,” Jordan said. She is a passionate advocate for the food security efforts at Aims, as both a beneficiary and an Arty’s Pantry part-time employee. Jordan works as an attendant, helping other students receive groceries and supplies.
Jordan is pursuing a path in early childhood education. Because of the resources provided by Arty’s Pantry, she was able to stay at Aims and is graduating in May. “Having this service on campus has been really helpful and allowed me to be the best that I can be,” Jordan added.
Jordan isn’t the only one who has benefited from Arty’s Pantry. Since a March 2018 opening, 1,234 students have been served with 9,294 total orders. In 2022 alone, Arty’s Pantry distributed 31,021 food and 4,933 personal care items, 515 packages of period products, 11,375 diapers, 158 other baby care items and 1,163 school supplies.
Funded by the generous donations of Aims staff and faculty, the community and grants, all enrolled Aims students can use Arty’s Pantry with no questions asked. An online ordering system allows pick-up at any of the Fort Lupton, Greeley, Loveland or Windsor campuses.
Connecting students, individuals and families to resources can get them through tough situations. Much like Arty’s Pantry does for Aims students, 211 Colorado connects people to resources throughout the state.
211 Colorado is a confidential resource and referral system available to all Colorado residents. Being able to access resources to help someone maintain a stable living environment with minimal disruptions to their daily routine is essential in keeping any community healthy and thriving.
Celebrating 211 Colorado’s 20th year as a statewide resource is a testament to its needed role. Last year alone, 211 Colorado staff and volunteers made 206,591 referrals for critical resources, 5,067 SNAP applications were completed, 3,246 Lyft rides were scheduled to ensure people made it to employment and health care appointments and 1,500 families engaged in long-term recovery support after the Marshal Fire.
Any Coloradoan can make use of 211 Colorado via phone (dial 2-1-1), text (text zip code to 898-211) or online at www.211Colorado.org. Trained 211 resource navigators assist individuals and families who are seeking community services. The most common resource requests are rent and utility support, food resources, adult and child day care options, legal and tax assistance and natural disaster aid.
You can support 211 Colorado through financial contributions for staffing and technology services. You can advocate with community leaders and elected officials on the importance of 211. You can share about the availability of this vital resource with anyone in the community.
Be it through Arty’s Pantry or 211 Colorado, together we can connect our neighbors who are facing difficult circumstances to the resources that they need to achieve their goals.
Chuck Jensen is the vice president of administrative services with Aims Community College and is a United Way of Weld County board of director member.