Nearly one in five college students will experience food insecurity during their academic career due to a wide variety of reasons. “This can directly jeopardize a student’s academic success. As a community, we want to make sure that doesn’t happen,” says Deaconess Betsy Karkan, who led the effort to open the Pillars Pantry in 2020.

As the University welcomed students back in-person for the Fall 2021 semester, the Pillars Pantry kicked off a “Fill the Pantry” campaign in anticipation of serving more students in need. “Last year we didn’t have as many people on campus, so it was difficult to gauge the needs of our student population,” says Karkan. “This academic year is our first real opportunity to determine how the pantry is utilized under ‘normal’ circumstances.”

Since January, the Pillars Pantry has already served more than 62 Concordia University Chicago students, staff and their families. And that’s in addition to the countless others who have used the “Help Your Shelf,” an area where anyone can pick up snack-type items. “This is Concordia-Chicago—our community coming together to support and care for each other,” says Karkan. “This community resource is just one of the many ways CUC has dedicated itself to ensuring our students can continue to succeed in achieving their academic goals during their time here.”

The Pillars Pantry is partnering with student pro-life group CUC4Life during the month of October to address the topics of food and housing insecurity. Their goal is to raise awareness and do a food drive in conjunction with the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) Cans Across the Conference campaign.

This fall the Pantry is asking the campus community help “Fill the Pantry” in whatever way they can—giving monetarily, volunteering or donating food—so that CUC students can continue to grow, love, learn and serve. Brand-new collection bins have been placed in the KCC and the Kreft Student Success Center. Learn more about the Pillars Pantry and view a list of most-needed food items at