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New Food Pantry Opens on Main Campus

Hunter College opened a new food pantry on the main campus in WB103 on Feb 6. The pantry offers free food options for all Hunter students with a valid Hunter ID. Food Bank for New York City manages the distribution keeping in with their nutritional guidelines. “It’s really beneficial for students like me with financial pressure,” said Tanya Guaman, a Junior studying nursing. 

Any student can take up to nine items when they walk in two of which being grains, vegetables, fruits, proteins respectively and one dairy option. “I like it because I can get food on campus,” said Adam Dore-Young, a freshman. “Sometimes I’m here for 13 hours a day and I can’t bring enough food from home.” 

Some students are happy with the options “I was pretty happy. They have almond milk,” said Guaman. “The options are definitely good for something that is totally free.” 

 

Currently, the shelves are stocked with almost primarily dry and canned goods which include beans, rice, peanut butter, cereal, almond and dairy milk, canned fruit, canned vegetables and soup. “We have limitations to the options in order to meet the quantity and demand to maintain the program,” said Chris Aviles, a student services specialist in the emergency support and resource office. There are no fresh vegetables or fruit now because the pantry doesn’t have refrigerators. 

 

The school is in the process of getting freezers so they can begin stocking meat and fish. Currently there is no timeline to get the freezers because the contracting process within CUNY is rigorous. The Brookdale campus’ food pantry stocks food and is open to all Hunter students.

 

The location is accessible with an entrance on the left walking into the basement entrance from the 68th St. 6 train stop. “We wanted to keep the location discreet because a survey conducted by the school revealed that students were uncomfortable with their peers seeing them in the food pantry,” said Aviles. 

 

Graduate nutrition students staff the food pantry to support students who might feel a stigma surrounding food insecurity. “It’s all about student’s mental health,” said Student Government President Kamalpreet Kaur. “These graduate students have the understanding of students who experience food insecurity.” 

 

If students are still looking for fresh fruit and vegetables, they can take advantage of the Fresh Food box which brings fresh vegetables to the main campus every Thursday. It costs $14 to sign up for the program but students can get vouchers from the emergency support and resource office to waive the fee. The office also provides food cards for use at approved grocery stores and emergency funding for students who can’t afford daily living expenses. 

 

Students can make suggestions for different options at the pantry through a feedback form when they sign up.

Hunter College created the food pantry because of a mandate made from Albany. In August 2019, Governor Andrew Cuomo extended the “No Student Goes Hungry” to CUNY campuses after the RealCollege survey found 48% of CUNY students were food insecure in the past 30 days.

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