The New York Institute of Technology is offering food and essential supplies to students in a new food pantry at its Old Westbury campus.
The school stocked its new Grizzly Cupboard Pantry with dry goods, food and supplies using $10,000 in gift cards donated by Stop & Shop. The pantry, which opened last October before in-person classes returned to campus, is now open for students to visit or request deliveries at no cost.
The food pantry includes items like ramen noodles, cereal and canned fruit and vegetables, as well as personal hygiene products and school supplies. The donation from Stop & Shop will help the university buy supplies for its campuses on Long Island and in Manhattan.
University officials conducted a food insecurity survey of students in 2019 and more than half the students said they didn’t have enough money for food through the month.
“In a country with such riches as the United States and on the North Shore of Long Island with its rich tradition, there should not be anyone going without healthy food,” NYIT President Hank Foley said. “We know there are and some of those people are students … now we can provide sustenance to those who need it.”
The university partnered with Invisible Hands for delivery of food throughout the pandemic and food is now available to students and their families. The university can reapply for grants to Stop & Shop after one year. Stop & Shop also has a food donation bin at its Greenvale store.
Tiffani Blake, the school’s assistant provost of student engagement and development, said before the pandemic she noticed some students not feeling well and reporting headaches because they were hungry.
“You think someone pursuing higher education could have access to get food, but that’s not always the case,” she said. “Families are trying to choose between, ‘Do I feed my child or send them to school?’ and we’re trying to remove that barrier.”
Student government president Anoushka Guha, 20, of Valley Stream, said a student committee she headed helped plan the pantry while students were forced to be at home.
“We want students to be able focus more on their studies and not food insecurity,” she said. “All student were forced to be at home and had no access to school lunches. There was a lot of stress on families and suffering in silence because a lot of students don’t want to come forward.”