By Tommy Dong, '19, Coker College office of marketing and communications intern
In November of 2017, Coker College created the Cobra Cupboard, marking another step forward in Coker’s commitment to assisting students. In 2016, the collective efforts of the College and University Food Bank Alliance, the National Student Campaign Against Hunger and Homelessness, the Student Government Resource Center, and the Student Public Interest Research Groups resulted in a collaborative report stating that 20 percent of students who attend colleges and universities experience food insecurity. The Cobra Cupboard was created to help aid students both on and off campus who may need assistance.Items provided in the Cobra Cupboard include, but are not limited to, canned chicken, canned stew, canned beans, soups, pasta, pasta sauce, fruit cups, crackers, juice boxes, applesauce, microwave popcorn, granola bars, cereal, jelly, raisins, and instant oatmeal. Basic necessities available include soap, shampoo, conditioner, toilet paper, deodorant, laundry detergent, and feminine hygiene products. For students who live in residence halls without easy access to a kitchen area, most of the canned items can be easily prepared via crock-pot or microwave—and the basic toiletries are universally useful.
The original system for making use of the Cobra Cupboard required students to apply for access to the pantry online. Once accepted, the student could visit the Cobra Cupboard twice a month for the entire year. At the beginning of this academic year, Coker removed the application process and allowed open access to every student on and off campus. Evan Vaughn, the Director of Residence Life, says, “We wanted any student with need to feel welcome to utilize it. We know that sometimes there’s a stigma associated with the idea of asking for help, so we wanted to remove any barriers to students utilizing the cupboard because our ultimate goal is for it to serve as many individuals as possible.”
The Cobra Cupboard has been recently relocated to the space across from the Office of Residence Life, just beside the game room on the 2nd floor of Coker Hall (by the balcony overlooking the dining hall). Previously, food and necessities were stored inside the Residence Life office, requiring someone to be present to unlock the doors. With this new location, Coker hopes to allow easy access that is available 24/7. The Cobra Cupboard is 100 percent donation-driven. Coker accepts donations in the form of physical goods, cash, or gift cards. If donating online or by check, please be sure to identify that the donation is directed towards the Cobra Cupboard. Online donations can be made at www.coker.edu/gifts , with Cobra Cupboard selected as the donation destination.