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December 2014


FA helps students fighting food insecurity
Sean Tvelia


frank vino
Frank Vino of Campus Activities (left) works with student volunteers Brenden Short and Christina Felix to stock the FA donated food items. Each fall the FA donates $300 to each campus to help students facing food insecurity. (photo by Kevin Peterman)

I bumped into Frank Vino (Campus Activities) in early December in the Babylon Student Center.

"The FA's donations have already gone out to families in need," Vino told me. "We can't thank the FA enough for its generosity every year." At the Grant campus Mary Ann Borrello (Social Science) used the FA donations to stock their food pantry and at the Eastern campus our EC rep Teri Morales (Counseling) created Thanksgiving baskets so students in need and their families could enjoy a healthier, happier holiday.

I'm proud of these three members' work and I'm happy to pass on their gratitude to all of our members. Every fall the FA donates $300 to each campus to help feed students and their families who are in need of a little extra assistance for Thanksgiving and the holidays.

Food insecurity on campus is finally receiving national attention.

Last fall Salon reported on the "invisible" problem of hunger on campus. This April we saw in The Washington Post that more college students are reporting they have trouble affording proper nutrition.

More recently the Community College Journal of Research and Practice (available in the Ammerman campus library) published the results of a study on the prevalence of food insecurity on campus—specifically among community college students. Of the small sample size (n=301), 56% of the students were food insecure, especially single parents, students who lived alone and those identifying as African American or multiracial. The researchers suggest there may be a link between food insecurity and GPA and call for community colleges to attend to the issue much more urgently.

Research has been consistently clear that students need proper nutrition to stay focused on their academics, something I think we all want to ensure.

Besides, feeding those who are hungry is simply the right thing to do.

I encourage all faculty to donate to their campus food bank—no matter the season. If our students experience food instability at Thanksgiving, it's likely they feel a need at other times of year as well. Here are the FA activists to contact: