The fight against food insecurity is a global one, with no single solution. According to a 2021 report by the USDA, nearly 34 million people in the United States are considered food insecure — meaning they lack consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy life.
Students, faculty and staff at Johnson & Wales University are working together to raise awareness on this issue, while also providing tangible resources for university members across both campuses and to the wider community.
In fall 2022, the College of Food Innovation & Technology launched its CFIT Care Cupboard on the Charlotte Campus. The cupboard is in the Academic Center’s Commuter Lounge, where students can drop by in between classes to pick up food items that are housed in a refrigerator. From macaroni and cheese, to soup, salad, pastries and more, items are individually packaged, allowing students to quickly grab and go between classes. During the month of October, 1,050 items were shared with the campus community.
The food is sourced from CFIT’s daily production. Leading the charge is Associate Professor Department Chair, Jennifer Gallagher. She says the college is committed to sharing production from all labs, when available, to address food insecurity on campus.
“We opened the CFIT Care Cupboard in direct response to feedback we received from students and observances by faculty and staff. Food insecurity is a widespread problem impacting students, households and communities,” Gallagher said. “Since its launch, we’ve been supplying roughly 40 to 60 units a day, and it’s helping those in need. The goal of this new initiative is to target students who are food insecure, can’t afford a full meal plan or to go to the grocery store. We want to make sure our students have something to eat. This provides students with the nourishment needed to be present and successful in class. Student retention is affected by affordability and their ability to get essential items,” Gallagher said.