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College Food Pantries Highlight Food Insecurity On Campus

Courtesy of Stony Brook University Food Pantry
Staff of the Stony Brook University Food Pantry pose for a group photo in front of shelves stocked with canned goods and other non-perishables.

As part of a plan to fight student hunger, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has proposed in his State of the State address that every SUNY and CUNY campus have a food pantry.

Cuomo says that food insecurity is a problem on campuses nationwide, and many students have to choose between textbooks and food.

Stony Brook University opened its food pantry for students and staff in 2013. It’s volunteer-based, and works with departments and clubs on campus to run food drives. The program may serve as a model for other campus pantries statewide.

Stony Brook Food Pantry Co-Director and Clinical Assistant Professor Donna Crapanzano, says, “One of the things that I think we all know is you gotta feed your brain, and if you feed your brain, you learn better and then you work better and you become a better professional.”

Crapanzano hopes to expand the pantry’s hours in the coming spring and to offer programs like cooking classes.

“You’ve got a bag of beans, fruits, veggies and pasta. Now what do you do with that when you get back to your dorm? How do you prepare a well-balanced, nutritional meal?”

New York would be the first state to require every public campus to have a food pantry.