In advance of Thanksgiving, Trinity College opened a food pantry in a central location on campus and began welcoming donations.
The extent of food insecurity among college students nationwide has become evident in recent years. More than one in five undergraduates in the U.S. experience food insecurity, according to data from the 2020 National Postsecondary Student Aid Study.
Located on the lower level of Mather Hall, the new pantry will offer free, unopened, non-perishable food items as well as hygiene products, to ensure students have access to those goods throughout the academic year.
The pantry, called Food N Stuff, is a joint effort on behalf of Trinity’s Offices of Sustainability; Community Service & Civic Engagement; International Students and Scholars; Women and Gender Resource Action Center (WGRAC), P.R.I.D.E., and the Bantam Network.
“We’ve heard many students struggle, especially over academic breaks, to feed themselves,” said Hayley Berliner, sustainability coordinator.
Trinity is part of an increasing number of new food pantries on campuses. Throughout the last decade, the number has swelled from 80 to around 800, according to an August article in Diverse Issues in Higher Education.
A recent study of nearly 100,000 students found that nearly 23 percent of undergrads and 12 percent of graduate students experienced food insecurity, rates higher than those among the general public. Food insecurity is defined as the limited or uncertain availability of adequate food or the ability to obtain that food in a socially acceptable way.
“As an international student, breaks have been extra hard because of food insecurity,” said Diarra Sadji ’25. “I am hoping that Food N Stuff will help all international students, as well as domestic students who will be on campus during breaks.”
In addition to the campus food pantry, Trinity participates in an array of initiatives that address hunger in the city, according to Joe Barber, director of community service and civic engagement. Those include:
- Once a week, the Trinity Homelessness Program and Chartwells partner to donate food prepared by Chartwells but never served. The group delivers the food to a local shelter—ImmaCare on Park and Hungerford Streets. This semester, there have been four trips already with more than 125 trays of food.
- Each Thursday, JELLO Community Service Club runs goes to Place of Grace Food Pantry and helps with the weekly food distribution.
- Trinity Homelessness Program also participates in the Hands on Hartford Backpack Nutrition Program, which provides backpacks of food each weekend for about 250 food insecure school children. Trinity’s program is responsible for 25 of those backpacks each week, which includes shopping, packing, delivering, and fundraising.
Anyone willing to donate food and hygiene products, can drop off those items at the Office of Community Service, located in the lower level of Mather Hall next to the Bookstore, or the Cornelia Center on Vernon Street.