Fresh food banks to provide free nutrition to students in need

JULIA PIZZA, News Editor

Facilities Supervisor Mark Broomfield is collaborating with City College groups in efforts to create fresh food banks for students on campus.

Currently, Extended Opportunity Program and Services has a fully stocked food pantry located on the second floor of the Student Services Building to feed students who are in need. Faculty members feel that this is a step in the right direction, however the need for fresh fruits and vegetables sparked their attention.

“I had a conversation with a homeless student on campus and she expressed her want for a fresh apple,” Broomfield said. “This made me realize that the food pantry is really only stocked with chips and canned stew.”

Jason Walker, director of academic technology support and member of the Reflections Group, reached out to Broomfield in hopes of collaborating with him in the efforts to help solve this issue.

“[The Reflections Group] met and we talked about how we all want to help the students who deal with homelessness and hunger,” Walker said.

The idea for food banks rooted from the already existing food planters on campus that provide produce for culinary student workers to use in the JSB Cafe. Walker and Broomfield thought that the Food Pantry Garden would be a good addition to the efforts of the Food Pantry.

After their discussion, they began collaboration with EOPS Director Marsha Wright, the Sustainability Committee, the Student Equity Coalition and Facilities to get the idea put into action.

“Just because a student is low-income, doesn’t mean their only option should be junk food,” said Jackson Hayes, chair of the Sustainability Committee.

Though the food bank idea is still in the planning process right now, these groups plan to implement the project as soon as funding becomes readily available.

“I just applied for a $4,090 grant from the Aspen Award to hopefully get us started,” Broomfield said.

In 2013, City College was awarded a $400,000 award for achieving exceptional levels of student success. This award has since been put in an account where interest is being collected.

According to an article published in The Channels at the time of the award, the money would be saved for a specific purpose.

“[The money] will be used to support innovative projects that will promote student success,” said Dr. Jack Friedlander, executive vice president of institutional research.

These collaborating groups believe the food banks will serve that purpose.

Within the application, Broomfield made a statement for how the funding would benefit their plan, and how much produce they would expect to yield.

“‘Food Pantry Garden’ planters would yield approximately 60-100 lbs during the first year,” the application read. “The third and subsequent years are expected to yield 300 lbs of crops of vegetables at least twice a year.”

As the proposal goes on, Broomfield adds that along with the fresh produce, they are also anticipating the blooming of fresh fruit during the third year’s progress.

Upon approval of the grant, the groups can begin the project. If the grant is not approved, the group is willing to contribute to purchasing some of the materials, Broomfield said.

“We are hoping the funding will be available by July,” Walker said. “If that’s the case we hope to start building the planters in August, and have all the planting done before the end of December.”

Following this projection, Walker and Broomfield are encouraging staff, faculty and students to volunteer to help plant the seeds along with subsequently helping grow and harvest the crops.


Correction: April 11, 2017

A previous version of this story erroneously stated that the Jason Walker and the Advancing Leadership Committee were part of the collaboration. In this updated version, it states that it is in fact Jason Walker and the Reflections Group who are in collaboration.