First-ever survey of campus food pantries sheds light on colleges’ approach

Colleges and universities are investing “significant financial, physical, and personnel resources” in campus food pantries, according to a new report published by The Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice.

Founded and led by Temple University professor Sara Goldrick-Rab, the Hope Center released the survey results in conjunction with last week’s second-annual Real College conference. The Philadelphia-based event brought together more than 550 college presidents, foundations, faculty members, and students to address poverty and housing and food insecurity among college students, Inside Higher Ed reports.

Survey explores how schools are establishing, operating, and supporting pantries

The survey results reflect responses from 262 institutions that are members of the Hope Center’s College and University Food Bank Alliance (CUFBA), created to support campus food pantries across the country. Of the 217 schools that reported operating food pantries, 88 percent were public institutions. Most had a designated space on campus and employed some paid staff, often undergraduate or graduate students, with additional support from volunteers.

Many campus pantries reported having a difficult time estimating their budgets, in large part because they relied on donations rather than predictable funding. The 118 campus pantries that were able to provide budgetary information had annual budgets averaging a bit more than $15,000 a year, although budgets ranged from $0 to $300,000.

While colleges and universities are investing significantly in these efforts to address widespread food insecurity among students, many campus food pantries still struggle to secure adequate food, funding, and volunteers. The report authors conclude by calling for further research on this topic to clarify how campus pantries operate and which approaches are most effective at supporting students.

Georgetown launches Hoya Hub food pantry

Georgetown University on October 1 launched an on-campus food pantry to support members of the university community experiencing food insecurity. Located on the fourth floor of the university’s Leavey student center, the Hoya Hub is available to all undergraduate and graduate students, as well as faculty and staff members. The team working on the pantry hopes the project will eventually grow to encompass additional programming and other aspects of food insecurity.

Interested in supporting the Hoya Hub food pantry? Donations will be used to purchase non-perishable food items, grocery gift cards, shelving, and storage containers to create a safe and sustainable resource for the Georgetown University community. Give to the Hoya Hub.

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