Montclair State University has been awarded $100,000 as part of the second round of the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER II) Fund from the U.S. Department of Education.
The grant allows Montclair State to expand and continue its efforts as a leader in addressing the issue of hunger and food insecurity; in 2016, it became the first four-year university to open a food pantry on campus.
We’ve found that college students have a higher rate of food insecurity than the general population, and often have less support. We want to minimize the stigma and we want students to know that whatever resources we have, like the pantry, we are proud of them.
Campuses must meet certain criteria to achieve a Hunger-Free status designation, including establishing a hunger-free task force, providing students with assistance in applying for SNAP benefits and offering at least one physical food pantry in a stigma-free arrangement.
The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly exacerbated the issue nationwide, and Montclair is committed to continuing its work as a Hunger-Free campus.
In spring 2019, the Montclair State University Campus Community Garden, the Montclair State University chapter of the Food Recovery Network and the Red Hawk Pantry, conducted an audit to help provide necessary updates to the campus statistics on student food security, including the prevalence of student food insecurity and student perceptions of the campus foodscape.
Another survey in 2020 was conducted as well. Overall there is heightened stress and anxiety around food and food security.
There’s lots of anxiety in the household regarding our futures after this pandemic. Regarding food I have fears of long-term damage to my ability to pay for food due to the economic recession and my reduced access to stable work
The data suggest that presently over 4 in every 10 students who responded to the survey may be experiencing food insecurity during the academic semester, and that student food security may be worse for students during the academic semesters, when compared to their food security during the academic recess.