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ESU’s Corky’s Cupboard Expands, Other Events to Fight Food Insecurity

Fighting food insecurity is a timely topic on the Emporia State campus during October with a Can COVID donation campaign for Corky’s Cupboard food pantry, a grant to expand the pantry and access to the “Hungry to Learn” documentary.

The documentary from producer Soledad O’Brien looks at food insecurity and other basic needs insecurities through the lens of college students. The EAT Initiative (Emporia at the Table: Ending Hunger in our Community), a collaborative and interdisciplinary effort to combat food insecurity at Emporia State University and in the greater Emporia community, has created the watch opportunity.

This documentary is extremely important, especially in today's climate,” said ESU student Delaney Dold, an intern for the EAT Initiative. “For students who experience food insecurity, it lets them know that they are not alone. For students who do not experience food insecurity, it opens their eyes to something that their fellow peers are experiencing.”

The film is available for online viewing for the ESU community through Oct. 21, with virtual watch parties throughout the day on Thursday, Oct. 15, and discussion online using the hashtag #SwarmHunger. To access the film, go to On the gold bar near the top, click on Community Hornets to scroll directly to “Hungry to Learn.” After viewing the film, come back and complete the reflection form at the same link. Those who complete the reflection form before 5 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 16, will be entered in a drawing to win one of several prizes.


October is traditionally when both Emporia State and Washburn University compete against each other to pack their food pantries. In 2020, however, student leaders at both schools have dropped the competition, which included a pie in the face to the president and vice president of the “losing” school, to work together instead during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Can COVID is a food drive campaign whereby both schools are seeking donations. Items sought include peanut butter, beans, nuts, canned meats like chicken, tuna and ham; canned or dried fruits and vegetables, applesauce, pasta rice, cereal, noodles, oatmeal. Meals and mixes like soups, instant meals, macaroni and cheese, Hamburger Helper and spaghetti sauce are welcome as are baking supplies — cooking oil, flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices, sauces and baking mixes. All contributions can be delivered to the Center for Student Involvement inside the ESU Memorial Union.

An even easier way to contribute is financially through an easy, online giving site: Money donated is used by Community Hornets to purchase food for Corky’s Cupboard using programs that allow items to be purchased at discounted prices. Corky’s Cupboard partners with the Kansas Food Bank to serve ESU students.

Corky’s Cupboard Expansion

Thanks to a grant administered by Lyon County officials from the Strengthening People and Revitalizing Kansas (SPARK) Taskforce COVID funding, Community Hornets is using approximately $25,000 to double the size of the Corky’s Cupboard space in the ESU Memorial Union, which will better serve the needs of students. SPARK funding comes from allocations to the state of Kansas from the federal Coronavirus Relief Fund.

When Emporia State moved to remote instruction in March because of the COVID-19 pandemic, students were no longer able to come into Corky’s Cupboard in person. Instead, pre-packed bags of food items were available to pick up on a weekly basis. That process continued through the summer, when Corky’s Cupboard traditionally would be closed, and into fall 2020.

Expansion of Corky’s Cupboard means more than additional space, according to Blythe Eddy, director of student activities and community service, and a founding member of the EAT Initiative.

“This expansion also allows us to provide more space for fresh foods — produce and meats — for our students,” Eddy said.

World Food Day

The EAT Initiative and community partners are also encouraging a “Day of Action” for World Food Day, which is Friday, Oct. 16.

“World Food Day is an annual international day of action to create stronger and more sustainable food systems,” said Jasmine Linabary, assistant professor in Communication and Theatre and co-founder of the EAT Initiative. “We are asking people to join us in taking action to help end hunger on our campus and in the community and to share out what actions they take using #SwarmHunger. We hope to demonstrate a collective commitment to this cause and inspire others to take part.”

The EAT Initiative website ( includes ideas to get involved.

Additionally, the EAT Initiative has partnered with the Emporia Arts Council and Lyon County Food and Farm Council for an online exhibit of 'food art' for World Food Day. It will be available on the Emporia Arts Council’s Facebook page with a chance to vote for people’s choice awards. More information is available at