Whether it’s for tuition, books, rent or even food, most college students understand struggling to have enough money, but many forget about a campus resource that can help – Cardinal Kitchen.

The student-ran food pantry, created in 2015, is organized as a resource to keep students from going hungry. 


Located on the second floor of the Multicultural Center, the pantry has a variety of non-perishable foods, fruits, and toiletries. The pantry is open the last Tuesdays of every month, from 5 to 8 p.m. All students need to bring is their student ID. 

Out of 33,000 students in 24 states that are attending community college, more than 60 percent are considered “food insecure,” according to the 2017 report from the Wisconsin HOPE Lab. 

"The Cardinal Kitchen is an amazing resource for Ball State students,” founder Jes Wade said. “It's there as a reminder that everyone needs a helping hand at one point or another. No one should go hungry, and that includes students."  

Cardinal Kitchen also provides a service opportunity for students wishing to volunteer. The Student Volunteer Services works with the pantry to log student’s hours into the database so that hours can be documented for Greek Life and other extracurricular activities.   

As the executive director of Cardinal Kitchen, Nikki Cardaras knows how much of an impact working at the pantry can have on a student. 

"Cardinal Kitchen has had a huge impact on me because it has allowed me to become more involved with students on Ball State's campus than I ever thought possible,” Cardaras said. “The social work major in me just loves being able to make a positive impact on campus and in students' lives."  

Students that have questions or are interested in volunteering can email the kitchen at cardkitch@bsu.edu.