Bridgeport, CT - Housatonic Community College (HCC) is easing food insecurity among its students thanks to the creation of a new food pantry. An initiative of the Housatonic Community College Foundation, the pantry recently received a $15,000 grant from Fairfield County’s Community Foundation (FCCF) in support of this effort.
Each month, the pantry provides insulated bags stuffed with food items such as pasta, soup, vegetables, tuna, rice, peanut butter, jelly, applesauce and peaches. The value of each bag is estimated at $25, and most student participants are feeding families of four or more.
The pantry began its on-campus operations in February, after receiving a $5,000 gift donation from Stop & Shop to initiate the effort with additional nutrition education support. Since then, hundreds of students have been supported through this new resource.
“We know that many of our students are experiencing food insecurity, and that the pandemic has intensified the need for this assistance. We care about helping our students meet their basic needs and we are grateful for the support of Fairfield County’s Community Foundation and Stop & Shop in this important endeavor,” said Kristy Jelenik, Executive Director of the Housatonic Community College Foundation.
The grant from Fairfield County’s Community Foundation also funds ‘Fresh Food Days’ where students can receive fresh vegetables, fruits and other perishables to supplement the non-perishables the pantry currently provides. The college expects demand for the food pantry to increase dramatically once students return to campus in the fall, thus this grant support is vital.
“Unfortunately, food insecurity continues to be a major issue that individuals and families are struggling with during the pandemic. Fairfield County’s Community Foundation is pleased to support HCC’s Food Pantry which will undoubtedly reduce the number of food insecure students and address a critical need,” said Janeene Freeman, Director, Education and Youth Development at Fairfield County’s Community Foundation.
"Many in our communities have been forced to face the challenges associated with hunger as a result of COVID-19," shared Maura O'Brien, Stop & Shop Manager of Community Relations. "Students face a unique set of difficulties and lessening the burden of food insecurity that many students face every day will help them to focus on their education and their future. Stop & Shop is proud to assist in supporting the Housatonic Community College on-campus food pantry, helping to ensure students have access to food to help them succeed in their studies and life outside of the classroom."
“If we want our students to reach their full promise, they need access to nutritious food. We’re taking steps to end campus hunger, and are grateful for the partnership of these community leaders,” said Dr. Dwayne Smith, CEO of Housatonic Community College.