Thursday, April 18th, 2024
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Grant Addresses Food Insecurity on Campus

Grant will help MU address food insecurity on campus and create initiatives to expand awareness of the issue.

Millersville University is the recipient of a $40,000 Hunger-Free Campus Grant, as one of 30 institutions to receive support from the Pennsylvania Department of Education. These grants, originating under the Wolf Administration and continued by the Shapiro Administration, are awarded to help schools address food insecurity on campus and create initiatives to expand awareness of the issue.

Hunger-free campus logoWith the 2022-23 grant, the University was able to renovate space at the HUB, which allowed it to expand its kitchen, the Campus Cupboard, and the facilities’ restrooms for ADA compliance. The HUB provides four hot meals each week for free, along with free grab-and-go breakfast items and snacks daily. The Campus Cupboard allows students to “shop” for grocery items once a week at no charge, including fresh food and even personal hygiene items.

To build off the progress made by last year’s grant, part of the funds this year will be used to create a “Sub-HUB Station” in the Student Memorial Center. Currently, unopened food items are collected in boxes by the Food Recovery Network near the Galley and the Anchor and then delivered to the HUB. The Sub-HUB Station would provide a more prominent space with refrigeration and shelving, so more students are aware of the resource.

Additionally, the funding will be used to further expand the HUB’s outreach. Dr. Mary Beth Williams, vice president for student affairs, explains that more students are utilizing the HUB now. “The HUB currently serves around 350 students per week, and the student use of the Campus Cupboard continues to rise,” she says. “With this grant, MU will provide funding to The HUB for expanded meal programming and funding for increased advertisement about HUB services throughout campus.”

She continues, “Having a wonderful community partner like The HUB is essential to serving our food insecure students, and finding ways to communicate with students about the resources is vital to that success.”

A third goal is to use the grant to provide students with hot meals and distribution of food items during the holiday break. “Many students, primarily our international students, LGBTQ+ students and students who were raised in the foster care system, do not have another place to go during the break when the campus dining facilities are not regularly open,” says Williams.

“These weekly meals and food distribution points would allow students who stay on campus to be fed, take food with them, and connect with faculty, staff and students on the Hunger Free Campus Task Force who want to support and help them during the long break,” she continues. “During the meal, there will be fun programming for these students that will help them build trust with the faculty, staff and students on the Hunger Free Task Force. At the end of the meal, fresh and non-perishable food will be distributed to each student.”

Ultimately, these initiatives are another way to showcase the University’s commitment to its EPPIIC Values. “At its heart, this grant proposal is about sharing,” says Williams. “Students want to share food they have with other students in need, and Millersville faculty, staff and the HUB all want to support students in any way they can. Together, with this funding, our community can come together and help feed students in need.”

All grant recipients are members of the Hunger-Free Campus Initiative, a coalition of Pennsylvania institutions of higher education focused on addressing hunger and other basic needs for their students, creating opportunities for connection among student hunger advocates, providing resources and strategies for campuses, and supporting opportunities to apply for grants related to addressing food insecurity.

You can see all of the 2023-2024 PA Hu​​nger-Free Campus Grant Awardees​ here.


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