Sparked by the success of a student-run pantry last semester, the Cornell Food Pantry launched Oct. 16 to continue the work of providing food to those in need under a new and improved model.
The revamped pantry will provide food and personal care items to students pressed for funds in a confidential manner. Replacing Bread-n-Butter Pantry, which was founded by Gloria Coicou grad and operated out of the space Anabel’s Grocery currently occupies, the new University-run food pantry will be run in a bigger space and with longer hours.
Located at 109 McGraw Place, the pantry offers its services to all undergraduate students, graduate students, staff members and faculty, regardless of financial status. Members of the Cornell community simply need to enroll in the program to gain access to the pantry’s services.
The launch of the facility comes as food insecurity, exacerbated by academic workloads, student debt and jobs, has emerged as a pressing issue at many college campuses. A rising problem among college students, food insecurity targets one in three students, according to Cornell Dining’s website. Students struggling with food insecurity are often pressed for funds when purchasing food, or run out of food before they can obtain more money.
The new pantry at Cornell “is determined to help eliminate that distraction from academic success for as many students as we can,” Karen Brown, director of marketing for Student and Campus Life, told The Sun.
The pantry works on a system of “points,” which can be used in a manner similar to the Big Red Bucks. With these points, individuals can “shop” for food and personal care items. Participants of the pantry program “may [also] receive frozen meat or fish selections, as well as refrigerated items such as butter, milk and cheese,” according to Brown.
“Individuals are allotted 40 points per week, and those living with and supporting others may ask for [additional support] … for a total of up to 90 points,” Brown said.
Cornell’s efforts to establish its own pantry comes after a number of other programs established to tackle food insecurity, such as the Swipe Out Hunger initiative. Last spring, the University partnered with Swipe Out Hunger to allow students to help their peers by donating unused bonus meal swipes, The Sun previously reported.
Originally a nonprofit launched by a group of friends at University of California, Los Angeles, the program allows Cornell students to donate bonus meals from their current meal plans to a Swipe Out Hunger fund — which, in turn, metes out free meals to eligible students.
Although only less than two-weeks old, Cornell’s pantry has seen strong interests from the community members. Within the first four days, an estimated 50 Cornell community members have registered to participate in the program, according to Brown.
The pantry is open is open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4 to 7 p.m., Wednesdays and Fridays 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and Sundays noon to 3 p.m.