Goldey-Beacom students enjoy Food Bank partnerships
April 5, 2023
Thanks to monthly Food Bank of Delaware mobile pantries and a well-stocked campus food pantry, students at Goldey-Beacom College find help dealing with food insecurity. Food insecurity on college campuses is recognized as an issue by the Feeding America network, the Food Bank of Delaware, and our partners including colleges, like Goldey -Beacom College. Located in Pike Creek Valley near Wilmington, this private institution serves just over 1,100 students working toward undergraduate and graduate degrees.
AmeriCorps Vista and Area Coordinator for Community Service Sulakshmi Vaid said she started building a partnership with the Food Bank of Delaware after she struck up a conversation with Lanier, one of our drivers, at a mobile pantry last year. She and some students from Goldey-Beacom then volunteered at the Food Bank’s Newark facility. “I thought ‘Yes. I want this place to be a resource.’,” she said. The college already had a food pantry on campus, but Vaid describes it as “underutilized. There was not enough to give because it was only stocked by donations.”
Partnering with the Food Bank resulted in a more fully stocked campus pantry – foods that students can prepare, eat, and enjoy, Vaid said. “There has been an increase in students utilizing our pantry since our partnership with the Food Bank began,” she explained.
Feeding America research shows that a significant number of college students deal with food insecurity; the causes are varied, depending on the student’s race, age, and also because many are adults, i.e. they may be working, have children at home, and lack parental support. Calling the situation “a silent epidemic,” at least 30 percent of students lack sufficient access to food, cited a 2022 survey at www.healthaffairs.org.
In order to address the issue of food insecurity at Goldey-Beacom, Vaid described the process of building a partnership with the Food Bank was easily navigated; she reached out to the mobile pantry coordinator. She also praised Lanier, the driver who delivers and sets up the pantries – with the help of campus volunteers. “Lanier is so helpful. He is also charismatic and jovial, a great person to interact with and talk to. He is so friendly, and he understands,” Vaid said.
Many Goldey-Beacom students, Vaid explained, are international students, but food insecurity impacts others as well. “They often have no transportation off campus, but they try and make it work. Food insecurity is such a problem. It’s hard to get groceries, so the mobile pantry is a good resource for them. It also brings safety and security. And they love the food they get.”
“A partnership like this is like a crown jewel for me. It’s sustainable and so revitalizing. It can only grow,” she added. “Service work is my passion, and this helps me grow personally and professionally. It gives me purpose.” Vaid notes that she – along with students – continue to volunteer for the Food Bank as well.
Feeding America agrees that building and sustaining partnerships between food banks and colleges are key components is addressing campus food insecurity. The Food Bank of Delaware is one of the 200 Feeding America network partners.
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