New York City Food Policy Center: Ten Organizations Fighting Food Insecurity On College Campuses

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From the New York City Food Policy Center by Lani Furbank:

“The ‘broke college student’ stereotype has inspired viral memes and countless jokes, but having to live off of ramen noodles is nothing to laugh about. As the cost of tuition continues to grow, food insecurity on college campuses is also on the rise.

While nationwide statistics on student food insecurity are not readily available, Feeding America, the largest domestic hunger-relief charity in the United States, reported some striking figures in their Hunger in America 2014 Report. They serve an estimated 46.5 million people each year, and ten percent of their adult clients are currently students, including two million full-time and one-million part-time students. In addition, 31 percent of households reported having to choose between paying for food and paying for education.

Campuses across the country have begun to take a closer look at food insecurity among their students. At Western Oregon University, 59 percent of college students were food insecure at some point during the previous year. Thirty-nine percent of students at the City University of New York (CUNY) reported experiencing food insecurity in the past 12 months. One in five students at the University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley) reported having to skip meals to save money.

In response to this national issue, the presence of food banks and food relief organizations has skyrocketed. In 1993, there was only one campus food bank in the country: the Michigan State University (MSU) Student Food Bank. Today, the College and University Food Bank Alliance boasts 347 campus food banks in their network.

The New York City Food Policy Center at Hunter College has compiled a list of ten organizations that are working to reduce food insecurity on college campuses.


College and University Food Bank Alliance (CUFBA)

What they do: This network of campus food banks provides resources to member organizations in an effort to alleviate food insecurity, hunger, and poverty among college and university students in the United States.

How they do it: CUFBA supports existing and emerging campus food banks by connecting them with other member institutions and providing resources and guidance.

Mission: “The College and University Food Bank Alliance is dedicated to providing support, training and resources to campus-based food banks/pantries that primarily serve students.”

Major funding: None – the organization is all-volunteer.

Profit/nonprofit: Not a registered nonprofit, but they do not make a profit.

Location: Online

Campus(es) served: 339 member institutions across the country

Director: Clare Cady (Single Stop) and Nate Smith-Tyge (Michigan State University)

Date started: 2011

Interesting fact: CUFBA was co-founded by the Michigan State University Student Food Bank and the Oregon State University Human Services Resource Center.

Contact information: Clare Cady (clareLcady@gmail.com) or Nate Smith-Tyge (foodbank@msu.edu)

Social Media handles: Twitter: @CUFBA


Food Bank for New York City’s Campus Pantry Program

What they do: The Campus Pantry Program assists students of all ages, from children to young adults, gain access to emergency food that can be used to make balanced, nutritious meals at home.

How they do it: Some school pantries provide pantry bags filled with three to five days worth of fresh and packaged food. Others use the client choice model and allow students to select their own food, including fresh produce, like they would at a grocery store. The program has served over 10,000 elementary, middle, high school, and college students, providing over 1 million meals.

Mission: “The mission of Food Bank For New York City is to end hunger by organizing food, information and support for community survival and dignity.”

Major funding: The organization provides programs with free produce and donated product. Each school has its own budget through the Petrie fund that is used for wholesale purchasing.

Profit/nonprofit: Nonprofit

Location: New York, New York

Campus(es) served: CUNY Campuses: Kingsborough Community College, Hostos Community College, Laguardia Community College, Brooklyn College, John Jay College, Guttman Community College, and CUNY Law. New School also has a campus pantry, but it is not part of the CUNY partnership.

Director: Dr. Camesha Grant, Vice President, Community Connections & Reach

Date started: Food Bank For New York City was founded in 1983. The first Campus Pantry at the college level was Hostos Community College in 2009.

Interesting fact: Two in five, or 39.2 percent of CUNY students experience food insecurity.

Contact information: Dr. Camesha Grant (CGrant@foodbanknyc.org)

Social Media handles: Facebook: Food Bank for New York City, Twitter: @FoodBank4NYC, and Instagram: @foodbank4nyc


Tiger Pantry at the University of Missouri

What they do: The Tiger Pantry provides food resources and education to members of the University of Missouri family in need.

How they do it: The pantry serves the campus by receiving food and monetary donations to provide a pantry that offers monthly three-day-emergency supply pick ups, and weekly produce pick ups.

Mission: “Tiger Pantry strives to provide food assistance for those in need within the University of Missouri community. We hope to change the perception of hunger on campus and to offer resources to students, faculty, and staff so that they may focus on the experiences uniquely available at Mizzou.”

Major funding: Drives. One of their biggest drives is “Beat Arkansas Week,” where they compete with the University of Arkansas to raise the most amount of food and money for their pantries.

Profit/nonprofit: Nonprofit

Location: Columbia, Missouri

Campus(es) served: University of Missouri

Director: Grace Gabel

Date started: 2012

Interesting fact: The campus food bank serves as an auxiliary of the Central and Northeast Missouri Food Bank.

Contact information: tigerpantry@missouri.edu or (573) 882-3780

Social Media handles: Facebook: Tiger Pantry and Twitter: @TigerPantry


MSU Student Food Bank

What they do: The MSU Student Food Bank provides supplemental support in the form of free food to students facing food insecurity and in need of assistance.

How they do it: The food bank is not intended to supply all the food a student needs for a two-week period, but to cut the student’s grocery bill at least in half. The distribution supply consists of vegetables, fruits, soups, pasta, rice, bread, at least one protein, cereal and other items. The food bank is a member of the Greater Lansing Food Bank, which allows them to purchase food at a reduced price of approximately $0.34 per pound, saving 70 percent off of wholesale cost.

Mission: “The MSU Student Food Bank is intended to provide supplemental food and other necessities for students and their families who are in need of this type of support.”

Major funding: Charitable donations received from community members and organizations.

Profit/nonprofit: Nonprofit

Location: East Lansing, Michigan

Campus(es) served: Michigan State University

Director: Nate Smith-Tyge

Date started: 1993

Interesting fact: The MSU Student Food Bank was the first campus-based food assistance program in the country.

Contact information: http://foodbank.msu.edu/about/contact-us

Social Media handles: Facebook: MSU Student Food Bank and Twitter: @MSU_FoodBank


Oregon State University’s Human Services Resource Center Food Pantry

What they do: The Human Services Resource Center provides services to students who are low income, food insecure, and homeless. They offer training and education about poverty, income inequality, and socioeconomic class, and direct services to students in need. Their services include a food pantry (open to students and the community), a shower, laundry, assistance completing SNAP applications, on-campus meal and health insurance subsidies, as well as emergency short-term housing.

How they do it: The pantry is a shopping-style pantry that provides one week’s worth of food to those in need, with distributions happening every two weeks. In between these distribution nights, students and community members can come to get produce, bread, snacks to prepare small, easy meals, or a few staples items to help them make ends meet until the next food pantry distribution happens.

Mission: “We provide direct service, outreach, education, and referral services to OSU students to help alleviate the effects of hunger, housing problems, and poverty. Our aim is to meet basic human needs so that students can pursue a quality education. We also work to create a dynamic learning environment in which students, faculty, and the community can learn how to best address the current pressing challenges facing college students.”

Major funding: Donations from the community, student fees for staffing and capital costs.

Profit/nonprofit: Nonprofit

Location: Corvallis, Oregon

Campus(es) served: Oregon State University

Director: Nicole Hindes

 Date started: 2008

Interesting fact: In 2015, the HSRC Food Pantry served nearly 3,000 people with food insecurity by distributing over 44,000 pounds of food.

Contact information: hsrc.foodpantry@oregonstate.edu or (541) 737-3747

Social Media handles: Facebook: OSU Human Services Resource Center and Twitter:@OSUHSRC


Check out the other five organizations by reading the rest of the article HERE!