DENVER — When the Auraria Campus was shut down, that meant more than just an end to in-person classes at the Community College of Denver (CCD) for students like Melissa Delao.
"Ever since I began at CCD, I started using the food pantry which helped me so much, there were times where I didn't have like a lunch for myself during the day," Delao said.
Delao said her school's free food pantry became essential for her and other students.
"At Community College of Denver, we see a lot of students at our food pantry," Ashley Jaramillo, CCD student events coordinator, said. "Sometimes, we get about 80 to 100 a week and we know this is a really big need."
CCD teamed up with Metropolitan State University of Denver, University of Colorado - Denver, and the Food Bank of the Rockies to provide a mobile pantry free to Auraria Campus students and their families struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We have a lot of students that are refugees. We have a lot of working parents," Jaramillo said. "So, continuing this through the pandemic is very important for our institution, because we know what the need was before this happened. So, this only amplifies it even more."
Delao is picking up food because she is in that exact situation.
"I do it for myself, but also for my family right now," Delao said. "They lost their jobs and it's pretty rough for them right now."
Students can either drive in or walk in and text their information while trying to keep their distance. They can receive up to two boxes per family.
"So, it's enough to supply them with enough food for a week to make them enough meals for themselves and potentially some family members," Jaramillo said.
Jaramillo said this is an effort to give support even though the campus is shut down.
"Trying to keep some normalcy with a food pantry and having that sense of community is still very important," Jaramillo said.
The mobile food pantry will be available on the Auraria Campus every second and fourth Tuesday of the month.
"I do believe it's helping many people out there today," Delao said.
SUGGESTED VIDEOS: Feature stories