After multiple food-assistance requests, NMSU athletics is promoting nutritious diets for their athletes in collaboration with Aggie Cupboard this month. Aggie Cupboard is an on-campus food pantry that supplies non-perishable items to all NMSU students and staff.
According to Aggie Cupboard program specialist Amanda Nunez, the collaboration process began last spring when graduate assistants within the athletic department wanted to “address the concern of food insecurity across all student athletes.”
“There’s a misconception that student athletes have a meal plan which is a very false assumption,” Nunez said. “Many students are not able to work, due to their sports commitments, and they find themselves needing food resources.”
At the beginning of the fall semester, NMSU’s director of athletics Mario Moccia agreed to market the program by encouraging the community to donate nutritious food items. The food pantry accepts all non-perishable items including protein drinks, canned tuna and cereal.
“We’ve been able to communicate with different teams to ensure that we are bringing in food that all student athletes need,” Nunez said. “We are working to get donations that are nutritional for their bodies and will help them perform better.”
Aggie Cupboard was approached in August by dietetic intern Kaylee Nilsson, who urges the need for additional food resources for athletes.
“It’s been proven that nutrition has a direct reflection on an athlete’s performance on the field,” Nilsson said. “What an athlete eats and puts into their body affects how much energy they have, how their body recovers and their overall performance.”
Nilsson started working with the Aggie football team at the beginning of the season in August 2022. She advised each player of their possible nutrition plan including freshman running back, Isaiah Rudison.
“I’ve seen a difference in my body since I’ve been here,” Rudison said. “I’ve lost some weight and become leaner while still having muscle.”
Donations are distributed to each of the 16 sports teams on campus. As a part of the collaboration, donation boxes have been set up at men’s and women’s basketball and volleyball games.
“We have donation opportunities lined up at home games,” Nunez said. “When you add food insecurity on top of student-athletes everyday demands, this collaboration allows them to at least take some stress off of their plate.”
The first food drive was set up on Nov. 2 at the Pan American Center during a men’s basketball game, and there were five more opportunities to donate throughout the rest of the month.
“The collaboration began with food drives at basketball games that could directly go back to all athletes,” Nilsson said.
According to Nilsson, the athletic department plans to continue collaborating with Aggie Cupboard in upcoming years.
“The future is looking really good for the nutrition department in athletics,” Nilsson said. “Hopefully, we can get more items donated and bring awareness to the student-athletes that this program benefits.”
Aggie Cupboard accepts donations throughout the year at its main office located at 906 Gregg St. The last home game of the semester with a donation box will be at the men’s basketball game tonight beginning at 7 p.m. at the Pan American Center.
For more information about Aggie Cupboard’s collaboration with NMSU athletics, contact Aggie Cupboard via email at email@example.com or call (575) 646-7636.