Cardinal Cupboard Food Pantry

Cishella Durling: Hi everyone. Welcome to another episode of the Student Affairs Podcast series. My name is Cishella Durling, and I am so excited to be your host today because we are going to be talking about something so fun and so exciting; an initiative that has been around here at the University of Louisville for quite some time, called the Cardinal Cupboard. Today I have with me, Lindsey and Faith, who are two students that help operate the Cardinal Cupboard. So, we're very, very excited to get their input and their insight in the operations of the Cardinal Cupboard. So, Lindsey, if you would like to go ahead and introduce yourself and then Faith, and then we'll go ahead and get on into this podcast.

Lindsey Lankford: Hello everyone. My name is Lindsey, I use she her pronouns and I am the Internal Programming Director at the Cardinal Cupboard. As Internal Programming Director, I'm a point of contact between volunteers and then other directors and advisors for the Cardinal Cupboard. So, I coordinate volunteers, create the volunteer schedule, I train volunteers, as well as work with volunteer appreciation stuff throughout the semester, as well as obviously support my other directors and what they're doing.

Faith Fisher: Hi guys, I'm Faith Fisher. I use she her pronouns and I'm a student in the Master of Public Administration program. I'm the graduate intern for Cardinal Cupboard and so some of the various responsibilities that includes is helping advise the four student Co-directors, which Lindsey is one of, just kind of being a touch point for them to kind of help them out with whatever they need, and whatever that need is very honestly varies so much. So, you know, I kind of helped with the volunteer event that we just had. I primarily manage our Grab-and-Go food bag program. Just a bunch of different stuff.

Cishella Durling: Wonderful. Well, thank you so much, ladies, for taking the time out of your day to sit here and talk about the Cardinal Cupboard. So, I'm going to go ahead and jump right on into this podcast and ask you first, Lindsey, what specific types of resources and assistance does the Cardinal Cupboard provide to UofL students and how does it address their immediate needs?

Lindsey Lankford: So, the Cardinal Cupboard provides students with free food as well as some hygiene products, and this is done through two avenues. The first is the pantry, which is located SAC W312. It's on the overpass that goes over the train tracks when you're heading towards the bookstore. And when you go into the pantry, there's a bunch of things on the shelves. We have things like fresh produce, fruits and vegetables. We have refrigerated goods, frozen goods, boxed goods, canned goods, dry goods, soups. Anything you can imagine, as well as hygiene products. Additionally, we have things that we received through our food recovery network. So, we received bagels from Einstein, and we also occasionally received products from Starbucks when they have extra things that they can't sell. And so, if you come into the Cardinal Cupboard, you are able to pick whatever you want. It's all free. Whatever you need, you're allowed to take.

And then, the 2nd avenue that we provide free food and hygiene products is through the Grab-and-Go bags, which Faith mentioned she is in charge of. But these bags you can request and you pick them up in the lockers; one location of those lockers is outside of the Cardinal Cupboard food pantry. And it contains a bunch of different foods from different food groups and tend to just create a more of a well-balanced meal, or maybe two meals. And then in terms of what immediate need that meets, we very much want to push that this is not-- you don't have to wait until you're starving or really, really needing food to come to the Cardinal Cupboard. This should be a place where if you are looking for your next meal, you can find it. If you're looking for a healthy snack between classes, you can get it there. Or if you want to supplement what you have, it's sometimes hard to get off campus and get fresh produce, and so you can come in to maybe supplement that you have with that.

Cishella Durling: Wonderful. Thank you. And I know that as a student has who has utilized the cardinal cupboard before, it's a great resource and I definitely encourage students to go and use this as a resource. And I really appreciate that you said even if it's just a healthy snack in passing, you need a boost of energy, you get to come in. I really appreciate that it is there for students. So, the next question is going to be directed at Faith. What were the key motivating factors or reasons behind the establishment of the Cardinal Cupboard?

Faith Fisher: So, one of the main reasons the Cardinal cupboard was established was to fight food insecurity, especially here on campus. There's always kind of like the stereotype of the starving college student who's broke and can only buy ramen and stuff like that. And you know, we definitely want better for our students at UofL than that. So, you know, we have a lot of kind of healthier options like fresh produce and stuff like that. And like Lindsey mentioned, even if you know somebody isn't struggling with food insecurity, you know, sometimes it can be hard to get off campus, kind of making it more convenient for students to get access to food as well. And also part of the reason why we did it was to keep on par with other universities in the area. So, I believe a couple of them had a campus food pantry before us and UofL was like, well, you know, we kind of got to do that as well.

Also, we do various sustainability efforts with Cardinal Cupboard and they have been around since just about the beginning as well; like Lindsey was mentioning the food recovery network. I think they've been doing that since Cardinal Cupboard’s founding in 2019. So that's always been a part of it as well.

Cishella Durling: Wonderful. Now Lindsey, this next question goes to you. How does the Cardinal Cupboard collaborate with other campus organizations or community partners to ensure a comprehensive and sustainable support system for students in need?

Lindsey Lankford: So, one of our big off-campus partners right now is Dare to Care, and our partnership right now—how that works is once a week we're able to pick some things. We pick up these items for free. So, we're able to pick honestly, it really varies. Sometimes we end up getting meat, which is very, very, very desired in the cupboard. We get a lot of our produce from them. We also get loaves of bread if you walk into the cupboard and there's 30 loaves of bread, that's probably what that's from. We've also recently established a purchasing contract with them, so starting up soon we'll be able to also purchase goods for them. And I believe that's wholesale, so that cost will definitely be reduced for us.

We are working in terms of off-campus partners on establishing more food recovery network type partnerships. And so, we're working on establishing those, just coordinating logistics. Like, who would pick that up, and how often we would do that; so, I believe we're really hoping to get that started up next semester. In terms of on-campus partnerships, things that are already established. We have partnerships with Einstein bagels as well as Starbucks for food recovery network, so we get things from them that are still good to eat, but that they can't sell. So, at the end of the day, Einstein has a ton of extra bagels, we're able to pick those up and provide them in the Cupboard. Sometimes when Starbucks closes, they have the bakery items that are still in their package, but they just can't sell, and so we can pick those up and put them in the Cupboard as well. And in terms of other on-campus partnerships, that is something that we're really kind of working on this year because it's very obvious of how if we're in a partnership, how you can help the Cardinal Cupboard, is you give us food. But and we're trying to establish ways that we can be in a partnership that are mutually beneficial. So, looking for partnerships where we can also help the organizations that we're partnering with, but that's something that we're working towards.

Cishella Durling: Yeah, that's wonderful. And it's great to hear that there are organizations and businesses on campus that are willing to help support the Cardinal Cupboard.

I mean, together we are, really, we are a cardinal community and I think it's important to remember that at the end of the day we really need to have each other's backs and be supporting each other. And so, I think it's great that we've gotten some businesses on campus to be on board with that. So, all right, this next question and our last question is going to be directed at Faith. What are the long-term goals and visions for the cardinal cupboard in terms of expanding its support services and impact on student well-being at UofL?

Faith Fisher: So we do have a couple of different things that we are looking forward to doing as Cardinal Cupboard, one of which is we do want to have more inclusive food items. So, a lot of them in the Cardinal Cupboard, we do have some vegetarian options, there's not that many vegan, which is something we try to be conscious of. Would also love to expand our options to include more gluten free, halal, and kosher options. You know, just kind of be accommodating of all students here on campus. You know, it's easy for people who we do fit their dietary restrictions, but others we may not. And of course, we want everyone to be able to combat food insecurity with Cardinal Cupboard, not just certain people.

We also want to expand our food offerings in general to become a bit healthier. We do have a lot of different prepackaged goods and some of those can be high in sodium and things like that. So, we really want to do heart healthy options and also, as well, we're looking to have more hygiene items in the cupboard. So, most of the time, what's there on a daily basis is things like pads, tampons and toilet paper. But we are looking to expand to some other hygiene items that people need, like deodorant, which we actually do have some of right now. And you know, just kind of toiletries, stuff like that.

Cishella Durling: That's awesome. And I think that it is so cool how mindful that you all who run and organize the Cardinal Cupboard are of the different dietary needs of students. I think being mindful and inclusive is something that will get the Cardinal Cupboard far and I’m really, really grateful for the opportunity to help highlight the Cardinal Cupboard and some of the wonderful initiatives that you all are taking and the work that you all are doing to help you know, bridge these food gaps and help create a sustainable food options for students who are experiencing food insecurity. So, thank you so much, I appreciate your hard work. I appreciate the time that you have taken today to answer our questions and to spread awareness about the cool work that you all are doing. So, we're going to go ahead and wrap this up with did you know that the University of Louisville Sustainability Program offers a free store where students can access secondhand items at no cost and where individuals can donate items. For more information, visit

All right, everyone, thanks for tuning in to another episode of the Student Affairs Podcast series and we'll catch you all next time.


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