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Beefing Up Pete’s Pantry: Initiative Brings Awareness to Food Insecurity on Campus

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Pete's Pantry food drive

Through a social media partnership and awareness initiative, roughly $1,300 was donated to Pete's Pantry in the form of high-protein beef sticks.

A staggering amount of Oklahoma State students don't know where their next meal will come from –– 43%. The Oklahoma Collegiate Cattlewomen Association and the Oklahoma Beef Council partnered up to help change that.

A 2018 OSU graduate survey found that nearly half of the student body faces food insecurity. Cowboys Helping Cowboys is an initiative with the Oklahoma Collegiate Cattlewomen, the Student Government Association, and the Oklahoma Beef Council all partnering up to raise awareness about food insecurity on campus while also promoting the benefit of beef in the diet.

“We reached our goal practically overnight,” said Kinzie Burtrum, president of Oklahoma Collegiate Cattlewomen. “We got about three thousand engagements with over 13 thousand views on Instagram and Facebook.”

The initiative ran for a week in February and hit its $1,500 goal long before the week was up. The goal amounts to 1,500 beef sticks being provided to Pete’s Pantry. The Oklahoma Beef Council would donate one dollar for each like, share, or comment on the beef advocacy posts made on the OCCW Facebook and Instagram pages that week.

Student Government Association Chief of Staff and Food Insecurity Director, Amarie Griffeth, agrees that the initiative was an all-around great success. High-quality protein is worth its weight in gold at food banks since many people don’t think to donate it. 

“We were able to promote the value in animal protein in the diet, while stocking our own pantry with protein, an item rarely donated,” Griffeth said. “We are so grateful for OCCW and the Oklahoma Beef Council.”

However, the partnership happened totally by stroke of good fortune – and great timing.

Kinzie Burtrum had been in a brainstorming session with Heather Buckmaster, the executive director of the Oklahoma Beef Council, when the idea of partnering with Pete’s Pantry came up. Buckmaster had seen an article about the pantry opening up on campus and pitched it to Burtrum.

“The stars aligned,” said Buckmaster. “Within the week, I received a separate call from Luke Muller regarding support for Pete’s Pantry.  It was a sign to me that this was a project that needed to move forward as a joint partnership.” 

The plans fell into place perfectly, and the initiative more than fulfilled its monetary and awareness goals. 

“The partnership exceeded its promotion and education goals while raising the awareness of college hunger issues and Pete’s Pantry and ensuring students that participate have a high-quality protein source in beef.” Buckmaster said of the success of Cowboys Helping Cowboys. 

 Pete’s Pantry is a resource provided by the Student Government Association in the Student Union, Room 211P. It offers non-perishable food items, clothing, blankets and menstrual hygiene products, provided by the SGA Red Pantry Committee. It is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m to 5 p.m, and it is completely free for any student to use. Monetary donations or food item donations are always greatly welcomed.