STATEN ISLAND ADVANCE – The College of Staten Island opened an on‑campus food pantry to provide students in need with non‑perishable food items.
“Food insecurity is a very real problem in Staten Island, New York City, and in the nation,” said the College of Staten Island’s President William Fritz. “We often don’t realize how close to home food insecurity is,” he said, noting a 2011 CUNY Graduate School study’s findings that show 40 percent of degree‑seeking students in the CUNY system had faced food insecurity in the previous 12 months.
“CSI students often struggle to support themselves while working, attending classes, and dealing with life issues,” said Jennifer Borrero, CSI’s vice president for student and enrollment services. “The food pantry hopes to minimize food insecurity so CSI students may focus on achieving their educational goals,” she said.
CSI’s food pantry is one of 10 to open in the past year among CUNY campuses. That number is expected to increase dramatically, according to Frank Sanchez, vice chancellor of student affairs for CUNY.
Food will be distributed to students based on the size of their family; proof of family size is not required and students will not be questioned about their personal situation. “Often times, students will go to great lengths to appear that they are like every body else, they don’t want people to know that they need help and we don’t want to make them uncomfortable. We want to be easily accessible for those in need,” said Borrero.
Each student will receive food from the fruit, vegetable, grain, dairy and protein categories, and will be shown how to pack a balanced pantry bag following MyPlate nutrition recommendations, which approximates the amount of food needed for 9 meals.
The food pantry, which is located in the Campus Center, will also work in conjunction with various student organizations to offer cooking workshops, financial aid, counseling and other services. The pantry will be managed by the Office of Student Life, and staffed by volunteer members of CSI’s Emerging Leaders program, the Verrazano School Honors program, and CUNY Service Corps interns.
Beginning on Friday, March 11, the pantry will open every second and fourth Friday of the month from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Appointments can be made for additional services in between dates and times of operations by calling 718‑982‑3088.
This article by Kristin F. Dalton was first published February 22, 2016 on www.silive.com and in the Staten Island Advance on Febraury 23, 2016. It is reprinted here with permission.