As many of you know, last year a study was released that indicated that up to 40% of CUNY students suffer from food insecurity at some point in the year. On our campus, we know that these difficulties may also extend to other members of our community, including staff and faculty.
In 2016, a partnership between NYPIRG and the Colin Powell School established a small food pantry with limited facilities in a 6th floor NAC office. Because that space had limited capacity to protect and secure food, it represented a good start - but only that.
Welcome to phase 2!
I'm thrilled to announce that on Tuesday, October 15th at 12:30 pm, we will be cutting the ribbon on a new and improved food pantry space within the Hoffman Lounge, renamed Benny's Pantry.
These new facilities have the capacity to store fresh foods, expand our canned food and boxed food options and even host cooking demonstrations and potentially, a CSA for the campus.
While we will be stocking the pantry with food items already ordered thanks in large part to the support of the Milton and Carrol Petrie Foundation, alumni support, and the Office of Institutional Advancement and Communications, the food pantry also represents an opportunity for each of us, to the extent that we are capable, to contribute to the well-being of the campus community.
We also look forward to bringing fresh produce from our various campus gardens to the food pantry during harvest time.
This new space represents the culmination of efforts by a number of deeply committed individuals on campus. The space itself was identified and developed by Jason Wallace, David Robinson, Khadesha Maxim and their colleagues. Members of the Office of Institutional Advancement, Student Affairs, Public Safety and the Colin Powell School embraced this as a top priority, as they have prioritized food insecurity more generally, during moments like #GivingTuesday and #WorldFoodDay in order to make this project an ongoing initiative. I'd like particularly to acknowledge Charles Ramirez, Sarai Perez, Annika Luedke, Namrata Kupte, Tiffanie Burt and Ana King-Garcia, with the leadership of Dee Dee Mozeleski who helped found the original pantry in the NAC. Our NYPIRG partnership began even before the original food pantry doors opened, and we could not do this work without their support and the many student interns they recruit all year.
I know there are so many other members of our community who have made this initiative a priority and I thank everyone for prioritizing efforts to meet the food security needs of every member of our community.
A food pantry should be a site for joyful exchange, where we can both give to, and take from, members of our community with an equal measure of mutual respect and trust. I invite all of you, in whatever way you need or want, to participate in this exchange. And, in particular, to join us on Tuesday, October 15th, to inaugurate this wonderful new part of our social and physical landscape.
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