Student gov’t distributes 80 meals in 30 mins at V100 food drive

Student Government Assembly members hope the food drive, held as part of NYU’s V100 spirit week in partnership with the Minetta Creek Collective and Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen, will push NYU to offer more resources for students facing food insecurity.

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Gabe Vasconcellos

As part of NYU’s Spirit Week, members of the Student Government Assembly gave out bags with food to students at the Kimmel Center for University Life. (Photo by Gabe Vasconcellos)

Tori Morales, Staff Writer

Student Government Assembly members handed out prepackaged bags of nonperishable food to students during a food and basic needs drive on Tuesday, April 19. The event, which took place at the Kimmel Center for University Life, was held as part of V100, NYU’s spirit week.

The student government partnered with the Minetta Creek Collective, a local organization aiming to combat food insecurity on and around NYU’s Washington Square campus, and the Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen, the largest soup kitchen in New York state.

[Read more: NYU employees launch free farmstand to combat food insecurity on campus]

“We had the pleasure of meeting and corresponding with some of the students running this event,” said Maura Puscheck, co-founder of the Minetta Creek Collective and a Steinhardt program administrator. “We are so impressed and inspired by their hard work and dedication to addressing food insecurity in our community.”

During the pandemic, New York City food insecurity rates increased by 36%; around 1.5 million New Yorkers are currently experiencing food insecurity. Ron Hall, the All-University Events committee co-chair and incoming SGA chair, said the purpose of the food drive was to represent the potential of a university-wide food pantry initiative.

On top of a table with a purple tablecloth, there is from left to right: Kraft macaroni and cheese, canned pineapple chunks, canned black beans, canned lentils and sliced peaches in a plastic container.
The bags given out to students included nonperishable food items like mac ‘n’ cheese and canned black beans. (Photo by Gabe Vasconcellos)

“We set aside 80 or so bags to give away to students, and we got rid of them in 30 minutes,” Hall said. “It is a testament to what we’ve known as student government, which is that food insecurity is an issue at the university.”

Tzivia Appleman, a CAS senior and alternate senator at-large for Jewish students and women of faith, emphasized the importance of easing the burden put on students when they cannot afford to buy food. She said student advocacy at NYU has led to several initiatives, such as the food drive, to support students experiencing food insecurity.

“It’s positive that we were able to have so many donations and have people really spread awareness about food insecurity,” Appleman said. “But at the same time, it’s also a bit disheartening to hear that there is so much food insecurity on campus.”

According to a 2019 survey, 41% of NYU undergraduate students were experiencing food insecurity. NYU has established programs to address food insecurity, including Courtesy Meals, which provides short-term support to students in need of emergency food assistance. The Share Meals app, created by an NYU alum in 2009, allows students to share meal swipes with other students. 

Appleman also highlighted the work of SGA in establishing the Swipe it Forward program, an initiative that allows students to donate their extra meal swipes at certain dining halls. 

[Read more: Swipe it Forward meal donation program returns to dining halls]

“As the student body, what we do is we give back and it doesn’t matter if it’s during graduation or during V100,” Appleman said. “We’re always supposed to be helping each other and especially to be able to use these outlets where we’re already attracting so much attention to contribute to these important things.”

Contact Tori Morales at [email protected]