By Mekialaya White

DENVER (CBS4) – Thanksgiving is approaching quickly, and Metropolitan State University of Denver wants to help students beat the holiday blues. MSU Denver opened up its food pantry back in 2007, and since then the need has simply grown with its diverse population.

(credit: CBS)

“I think specifically MSU Denver, we’re a commuter campus, we serve a lot of non-traditional students,” explained Erica Quintana-Garcia, Student Care Center Interim Director.

“Whether those are working students who work 40 hours a week to support their family, they have children. They’re first generation. So it’s making sure that we change the picture of what a college student may look like in someone’s head to make sure that we’re serving all kinds of students.”

Thus far this year, the Roadrunner Food Pantry has had close to 1,200 visits, compared to 1,600 for all of fall and spring semesters last year. It’s a welcome resource for students in event of an emergency, or if they just need a little extra help this holiday.

A 2018 survey out of Temple University cites four in 10 students at local universities — including MSU Denver, Community College of Denver, University of Colorado Denver and the University of Denver — struggle with food insecurity.

(credit: CBS)

And Quintana-Garcia says the care on campus goes beyond the non-perishable food items that the pantry offers.

“We put gift cards to local grocery stores in there. So if they want to get a meat product, something like that. Then there are different departments on campus that also write holiday cards to make sure that they know they’re supported here. And they have family here at MSU Denver.”

The pantry is open every weekday, throughout the day in the Tivoli building.

For more on hours of operation, or to donate food to the pantry, visit

Mekialaya White


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