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Nov. 26, 2013

MSU Student Food Bank: 20 Years of Giving


Nov. 26, 2013

The holiday season is approaching, and for many that means getting together with family, giving gifts and eating delicious meals. However, what about those who can’t afford to have nice meals, or those who can’t afford food at all?

That’s where the MSU Student Food Bank comes in. It’s the first food bank in the nation that’s run by students, for students.

And it’s not just a seasonal thing. For the entire school year, the food bank has been assisting MSU students in need, and they’ve been doing so since 1993.

The food bank’s irreplaceable relationship with the Greater Lansing Food Bank allows MSU to purchase food at a lower cost, so it can make donated dollars go further.

Nate Smith-Tyge, director of the food bank, is very appreciative.

“We’re a very efficient charity in that almost all the money that is donated to us goes directly into food purchasing and support for our food distribution operations,” he said.

Exactly how far do the dollars go? A $25 donation buys approximately 44 pounds of food. A $50 donation buys approximately 88 pounds of food. A $100 donation buys approximately 175 pounds of food and a $500 donation buys approximately 877 pounds of food.

As the MSU Student Food Bank approaches its 20th anniversary, a new alliance is beginning. A partnership between MSU and Oregon State University will serve as a national clearing house of campus-based food bank information and resource sharing.

A new interactive website allows for campuses to connect and share experiences and best practices. The entire MSU community, supporters and friends of the MSU Student Food Bank can take pride in the fact that MSU has started a national movement to address student food insecurity and is actively working to sustain the movement and see it flourish.

For those who want to support the MSU Student Food Bank, here’s how to get involved.

“We are a nonprofit organization, so the big thing we need is financial support,” Smith-Tyge said. “If people want to donate food products, we take canned and nonperishable food anytime when Olin is open. The doors are open; people can just come and drop off food. If people want to volunteer, we also need volunteer help on our distribution nights.”

Visit the food bank website for more information, or email Smith-Tyge directly at

Story and video by Annie McGraw, an MSU junior majoring in communications.