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Northland opens `Pioneer Pantry’ to support students facing food insecurity

Student Life

Northland opens `Pioneer Pantry’ to support students facing food insecurity

Northland Community & Technical College aims to eliminate one more barrier to success with on-campus food pantry.

Northland Community & Technical College is proud to announce the launch of Pioneer Pantry, a new on-campus food pantry aimed to support students facing food insecurity. Pioneer Pantry joins the recently launched Northland Cares program to combat the many barriers to success students encounter as they work towards graduation and full-time employment.

Food insecurity is an often unspoken challenge for approximately one-third of all college students. While never having a formal program in place, Northland has always provided assistance to students who request it or connected students with local food pantries to help meet their needs.

Now, thanks in large part to a generous $5,000 donation from Scheels via the United Way that covered the major start-up needs of Pioneer Pantry – refrigeration, shelving, etc. – Northland students have direct access to a food pantry stocked full of free, donated goods.

“From housing to groceries, transportation to technology, today’s students are seeing dramatically rising costs for virtually every basic need required for academic success,” said Dr. Sandy Kiddoo, President of Northland Community & Technical College. “We welcome many nontraditional students who are also responsible for families, part-time jobs and other demands that place an even greater demand on their resources, and our goal is to find creative yet effective ways to help them achieve their academic goals despite those challenges.”

A traditional community college devoted to meeting the employment needs of local industry, Northland has long been on the leading edge of innovation when it comes to student success, and students often play a big role in bringing innovative ideas to life.

“Little did we know that Dr. Kiddoo and the administration were also brainstorming the idea of an on-campus food pantry when we returned from another college visit with the same idea,” said Parker Jaques, Thief River Falls Campus Student Senate President. “Adding the food shelf at Northland is a beautiful result of our collaborative efforts.”

“Pretty soon other campus organizations got involved, and the idea for Pioneer Pantry came to fruition,” explained Ryan McGregor, East Grand Forks Campus Student Senate President. “The pantry will be stocked with food donated from food drives and sourced from local pantries and donations.”

Pioneer Pantry is just the latest Northland initiative to bridge the gap for students who need extra support. The college recently launched Northland Cares, an emergency grant funded by the generous support of the Northland Foundation and the sales of Northland’s new Rocket Fuel coffee. Northland and Minnesota State have also partnered with United Way 211 to establish a statewide basic needs resource hub to give students 24/7 access to basic needs resources and support via phone, text, or chat.

“Pioneer Pantry is the type of program that just warms the heart of an educator, and that’s what we are at our core,” Kiddoo said. “We’re here to help our students achieve their dreams, but not even the most driven student can make it on an empty stomach. Pioneer Pantry embodies what a community college is all about.”

If you’d like to donate to Pioneer Pantry, contact Jeff Pool, Dean of Student Affairs, at (218) 793-2460 or

To learn more about the Northland Cares program, contact Lars Dyrud, Foundation Executive Director, at (218) 683-8616 or