CWI Alum Leads Effort to Fill CWI Food Pantry

Published: September 27, 2023

The College of Western Idaho (CWI) Food Pantry at the Nampa Campus Academic Building (NCAB) was recently filled thanks to generous donations by Boise State University’s Student Association of Radiologic Technologists (SART)!

President of SART, Jeleana Loa, is a former CWI student and Tutor who spent a lot of time in NCAB where she noticed how empty the Food Pantry was on a regular basis. She made a promise to herself that she would one day return to campus and help fill the pantry.

“I think the CWI Food Pantry is essential,” Loa said. “College is an investment. While I can appreciate how affordable CWI is, I know that doesn’t eliminate the need for assistance.”

As President of SART, Loa created events for members to participate in to earn points in order to attend the Association of Collegiate Educators in Radiologic Technology in Las Vegas in January. One of the activities she came up with was a collection drive to help benefit the CWI Food Pantry.

More than 19 SART students donated dozens of items to the drive, including macaroni, Top Ramen, Gatorade, juice boxes, peanut butter, granola bars, canned soup, hygiene items, and much more. Loa and others with SART were able to stop by NCAB and fill the shelves on Monday, Sept. 27.

SART has plans to do another collection drive this November.

“The need for Food Pantry support is high right now,” said CWI Counselor and Basic Needs Coordinator, Christy Babcock. “CWI’s Pantry shelves are empty again soon after we get them stocked. We strive to stock the shelves once per week, depending on what we have available. Unexpected donations like the one from SART are a welcome and wonderful surprise.”

In 2019, a CWI survey revealed that 40% of our students have experienced food insecurities, which negatively impacts student success. Research shows that supporting students with on-campus food pantries helps promote positive student development, retention, and graduation.

The College has five Food Pantries located throughout CWI’s campuses, where CWI students and employees experiencing food insecurity are welcome to help themselves to what they need. The pantries also contain hygiene products for people to take and use.

“With local grocery prices soaring, students are feeling the pinch to their budgets. All too often, students have to sacrifice meals in order to cover other expenses,” Babcock said. “Our goal is to support students’ basic needs and to keep the pantries stocked with snacks and grab-and-go meals so they have something to eat while they are on campus.”

Those interested in donating to the CWI Food Pantry, like SART students, can stock appropriate items directly into one of the pantries.

Needed food items:

  • instant soups (ramen, mac-n-cheese, or other instant meals)
  • pull-top cans or pouches of tuna, chicken, and other meats
  • pull-top canned soups, chili, and ravioli
  • individual-sized applesauce or fruit cups and pouches
  • granola bars and similar snack items
  • small jars of peanut butter
  • individual-sized bags of jerky, crackers, trail mix, nuts, and dried fruit
  • instant oatmeal
  • individual-sized juices and milk boxes that do not require refrigeration

Grab-and-go lunch items and snacks are the most utilized items. Canned vegetables, pasta, sauces, and other items a person might take home to make a meal do not move as quickly through our pantries.

Miscellaneous items:

  • plastic silverware (no knives please)
  • paper bowls (no Styrofoam)
  • napkins

Hygiene items:

  • toothpaste and toothbrushes
  • shampoo and conditioner
  • soap and body wash
  • deodorant
  • razors and shaving cream
  • feminine hygiene products
  • hairbrushes and combs

The food pantry cannot accept perishable, expired, or opened items.

People interested in supporting the Food Pantry can also make a monetary donation by visiting CWI’s Give Now page, selecting “Other,” and designating the gift as a donation to “the CWI Food Pantry.”

Food Pantry locations

For those with questions or in need of more information, contact Christy Babcock at

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