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University of Providence senior's project helps feed fellow students

Ashley Gooman
Posted at 5:30 PM, Jan 18, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-18 19:30:01-05

GREAT FALLS — Food can be expensive, especially for college students. A student at the University of Providence took a class project based on that idea, and it's turned into a lot more than that. Argos Feeding Argos.

Ashley Gooman is in her senior year at Providence. She's also the number one ranked wrestler in the country for her weight class. "It's been fun. It's my last year out of like 15 years, which is crazy. But it's it's been fun with the team. We're doing fairly well."

Not only is she successfully wrestling other athletes, she's helping wrestle hunger on campus as well. She helped start Argos Feeding Argos as part of a class project last fall. When she's not on the mats, she's helping stock shelves and prepare meals for other students.

"We know how expensive food can get. I think students like actually seeing what there is and what they can have like that would be great as well."

Goodman has helped turn one small room on campus into a big impact currently serving about 20 students. There are also codes spread out around campus for students to fill out online forms.

Ashley Gooman
Ashley Gooman

"I think a lot of like my classmates and my friends, it's kind of hard seeing them, like having all this food accessible and not wanting to touch it because of like afraid of the idea of, oh, like someone else might need it more than me. But I think we're all students and we're all kind of struggling in some way. So having this available for our students is great."

They hope to expand not only the food bank, but knowledge of it, and let other students know that their campus has a resource for them if they need food. Travis Vermulm is the campus minister for service and outreach and oversees Ashley and the food bank. He intended the project to take all of the fall semester but they are doing much more.

"She's my student worker. I thought this project would take all of fall semester," Vermulm said. "It took her about three weeks because she's just a very hard worker, so I had to scramble to find some other projects for her to do because I really thought this would take a long time, but it would not be as organized as you see it. It would not be as efficient without Ashley."

Travis Vermulm
Travis Vermulm

Vermulm says the food bank has been on campus since about the mid 2000's and now it's mainly him and Ashlee helping serve students. They want to make the food bank as accessible and as known as possible so people can come get the food they might need.

"I think it's helped a ton. I think the big thing that we're trying to do is destigmatize it and get it a lot more accessible. In the past, it was kind of a hidden secret and it did really help a lot of students, but it was hard for them to find it. And a lot of times you would hear people say like, wait, we have a food bank?"

As Ashley approaches the end of her college career, she knows she's made an impact not only on the wrestling mats, but on her campus as well.

For donations and more info on the food bank, you can contact Travis at 406-791-5240.

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