Food insecurity continues to be a challenge to so many in and around the Stony Brook University community. To help, Stop & Shop recently donated $10,000 in gift cards to the Stony Brook University Food Pantry, a donation that is poised to change everything, from how many people it can serve to what type of additional essential items it will be able to provide.
“Stop & Shop is proud to support the efforts of Stony Brook University, because no student should have to worry about when their next meal will come,” said Daniel Wolk, external communications manager for Stop & Shop. “This in-school pantry ensures students at Stony Brook University will have access to the food they need. Students cannot learn when they are hungry, and we are proud to support the University in ensuring they are fueled for success.”
The Food Pantry, which operates within the Center for Civic Justice under the Department of Student Community Development, is made possible with the generous donations of community members. Every donation is directed toward supporting members of the Stony Brook University community who are food insecure, as well as supporting Food Pantry operations and education efforts. With this corporate grant in place, the Pantry will be able to feed more people than ever and will have more flexibility to purchase what is needed and when it is needed.
“This donation from Stop & Shop will make a tremendous impact on our ability to supplement these individual donations, to generously maintain inventory and address unique and culturally significant goods requests, as they arise,” said Emily Snyder, director of the Department of Student Community Development. “The convenience of Stop & Shop locations in our local area enables our team to address urgent inventory needs in an expeditious manner, allowing us to seamlessly serve our campus population.”
According to Wolk, this is a corporate initiative that is looking to grow to more than 400 food pantry locations. “Stop & Shop identifies schools in need within its communities and works to support a schools’ existing food pantry program or helps them establish one,” he said. The program launched in 2019 and has provided more than 180 school food pantries with gift card donations across Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey. The schools range from kindergarten to graduate school, so students at all levels are receiving the necessary food to thrive in the classroom.
Wolk said that Stop & Shop store #574 in Setauket, NY, will work closely with Stony Brook’s food pantry to help deliver the food items requested. This donation will also aid in stocking the food pantry’s satellite locations, a new initiative during the 2022-2023 school year, placed in high-traffic thoroughfares, near dining facilities, and in spaces frequented by marginalized communities that experience food insecurity at rates that are more statistically significant. They were designed for an anonymous, soft-launch gateway to food pantry services, said Snyder.
While this grant will surely be a game-changer for the next academic year, it doesn’t have to end there. Stony Brook can reapply for the grant every year in order to continue to help feed as many people as possible.
“The University Food Pantry strives to reduce the barriers to academic and cocurricular success that food-insecurity can present,” Snyder said. “Furthermore, our goals are to destigmatize food insecurity and use of food pantry services, reduce food waste, and create a community of advocates. We are sincerely grateful to the Stop & Shop team for their commitment to our vision for the pantry, and to the betterment of our campus community.”
The grant doesn’t mean that the pantry will no longer need donations. Monetary donations are always welcome, as are these high-demand items:
- pasta sauce
- cereal boxes/cups
- spreads (e.g., peanut butter, jelly, Nutella)
- fruit cups/canned fruit
- granola bars
- evaporated/shelf safe milk
- hygiene products (e.g., toothpaste, toothbrush, hand soap, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, etc.)
- school supplies (e.g., notebooks, pens, binders, usb drives, etc.)
Learn how to donate at the Food Pantry website.
— Emily Cappiello