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CUNY addresses food insecurity with stipends

CUNY Urban Food Policy

Over 1,000 CUNY community college students will be receiving $400 to spend at their campus cafeterias through the Food Insecurity Program, which is equivalent to three $10 meals per week, according to a New York City Council press release.

The initiative was announced by New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson and CUNY chancellor Félix Matos Rodríguez back in December.

This program is a pilot and a pioneer in attacking food insecurity on CUNY campuses. Moving forward, the program aims to expand to all 18 CUNY undergraduate colleges. 

It will also include some colleges growing food on their respective campuses.

The farming initiative includes Brooklyn’s Kingsborough Community College, which hosts a quarter-acre urban farm.

Among the students included in the new program are many “CUNY Dreamers,” or recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, often referred to as DACA. 

The average family income for the recipients of this grant will be $15,605.

“We know that to be successful in college, students must have their basic needs met, including having enough food to eat,” said Karen Wilks, interim president
of the Borough of Manhattan Community College about the program. 

“We are committed to working with our partners to prevent food insecurity… in addition to the recently opened food pantry on campus, these emergency food vouchers will help give our students the support they need to complete their degrees and achieve their dreams. We thank the Speaker, the City Council, and CUNY, for their visionary leadership on this critical issue.”

A March 2019 report by the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health found that as many as 52,550 students are food insecure and 35,440 have gone hungry within the past 12 months, making this new initiative a much needed one for students.

Although the hunger plan does not include Baruch College as of yet, students experiencing food insecurity or similar difficulties at the Kipps Bay school do have resources available.

Grab-and-Go bags, for example, are packed with nutritious food meant to help a student last through the day. 

They are available in the Office of Student Life on the second floor and in the Office of the Dean of Students office on the third floor.

Additionally, the Carrol and Milton Petrie Fund provides one-time access to funds immediately necessary for things such as food, rent or transportation, while the Eugene Ling Memorial Fund provides legal aid to undocumented students, as well as other assistance in attaining citizenship, such as application fees.

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