Text and photos by Jose Cardoso
Last week, the Colin Powell School and NYPIRG celebrated the opening of CCNY’s food pantry in NAC 6/145 to fight the little-discussed problem of hunger among college students. According to a study by CUNY, nearly 40 percent of undergraduate students surveyed reported being “food insecure” in some way while less than 10 percent used food pantries or other forms of help.
Herbert Seignoret, the special coordinator for projects for the Colin Powell School, believes the pantry will benefit the CCNY community by fighting those who require the basic necessities. “It’s touching. I think it fulfills the need for many of our students,” he said. “It will go long in developing the community and a support network for students who are in need.”
Many of those who deal with food insecurity at CCNY live in the shadows. Seignoret hopes to reduce the shame of asking for help. “We go through different points of our life where we might require assistance in some form or another,” he said. “It should be stigma-free, open to all students who are in need.”
“It was pretty busy,” added Diana DiCaprio, an intern for NYPIRG, who currently helps out in the pantry once a week, for a few hours.
Anthony Viola, project leader for NYPIRG, is happy to see the pantry become a reality. “I am so excited. We at NYPIRG wanted something like this for an extremely long time,” said Viola, who points out that food insecurity is associated with homelessness, another problem among students at CCNY.
According to Viola, the college’s administration backed the new food pantry without hesitation. “All it took was one conversation with [Vince Boudreau] to find out he was trying to work on something as well but had to put it on pause because of him taking on the presidency.”
At this point, the pantry operates Monday thru Wednesdays, 10 AM to 5 PM. On Mondays the pantry opens by appointments only for students confidentiality. To schedule an appointment visit this site.
Viola hopes to increase hours of operations soon. “Hopefully, eventually the stigma dissipates and people won’t necessarily be afraid to run into other people in the pantry itself,” he said. “My main goal by next year, having it open five days a week and it being sufficient.”