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SUNY Brockport tackles food insecurity with ‘The Pantry’

Photo Credit: Paige Kingsley

Dailey Hall, home to the international education program and student employment offices, now has a new addition: The Pantry.  

On Sept. 6, SUNY Chancellor John King gave a press conference to announce his initiative to combat food insecurity SUNY-wide.  

“Our tuition is very affordable at SUNY, but then they’ve got the cost of room and board,” King said. “Some of our students, particularly low-income students, are struggling. You don’t want students to be in a situation where they’re choosing between, ‘Do I buy a textbook or do I pay for my meals this week?'” 

Kaylee Vawter, a sophomore at SUNY Brockport, is no stranger to food insecurity. 

“Personally, I’m in the middle,” Vawter said. “I’m not wealthy by any means. I’ve never been on food stamps, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t need help sometimes. I rely on Harrison for the most part, but there’s some weekends or holidays where they’re closed or have weird hours. So when it’s like that, getting a good meal on a college budget can be more difficult.” 

This is what The Pantry is designed to help with. The Pantry was developed by Health Promotion and Prevention Education (HPPE) and Brockport Student Government. The purpose of this project is to provide easy access to nutritionally balanced options, especially for students experiencing food insecurity.  

Courtney Earle, HPPE coordinator for Prevention Education, is passionate about the work being done with The Pantry.  

“Our Chancellor has done a lot of work in recognizing the importance of meeting students’ basic needs. If their basic needs aren’t met, they’re not going to be successful in the classroom or outside of the classroom,” Earle said. 

The Pantry isn’t just meant for food, it’s also a resource for hygiene and menstrual products.  

“If someone doesn’t have enough food, they’re not going to be worried about going to class or participating in extracurricular activities. If someone doesn’t have access to menstrual products, the same thing happens,” Earle said.  

Earle emphasizes how a lack of proper nutrition can continue the cycle of food insecurity. 

“Food insecurity isn’t just access to food, it’s access to quality food that is good for you and has nutritional value,” Earle said. “If someone doesn’t have access to high quality food for a long period of time, not only do they lose the ability to focus on things, but they’re also potentially getting sick easier or experiencing mental health struggles. Then, that causes them to miss work and miss out on pay, and the cycle continues.”  

During The Pantry’s open hours, students are able to fill out an intake form to assess their needs to get the food and supplies they need to thrive. It can be daunting for students in need of food assistance to seek help, but resources like the Pantry in Dailey Hall can help alleviate any shame or embarassment for students. 

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Paige Kingsley, Features Editor
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