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.