The Food Bank at Columbia Serves University Students in Need

by Justin Taylor

What they do: The Food Bank at Columbia provides non-perishable food disbursements for students in need across all Columbia University Schools

How they do it: They hold weekly open hours at their permanent location in Alfred Lerner Hall on Columbia’s Morningside campus where students can receive up to a week’s worth of groceries based on household size. They also offer emergency disbursements by appointment 7 days a week.

Mission: “Columbia University, above everything else, is a community. When one of us is in need, we respond. The difficulty of an Ivy League education is further compounded when hunger is a constant presence. The Food Bank envisions a campus in which every student, regardless of their affiliation or socioeconomic status, has sufficient access to nutritious food. Our mission is to relieve hunger through the acquisition and distribution of food to those students who most need it and to lead our campus community in the fight against hunger.”

Latest project/campaign: Besides identifying a sustainable source of food and funding, they are working on opening a second location at the new Manhattanville Columbia Campus.

Major funding: Currently they are funded almost completely by the other student organizations, which receive their money from student fees.

Profit/nonprofit: Nonprofit

Annual budget: Approximately $12,000 at their current rate of distribution (114 students per month)

Interesting fact about how they are working to positively affect the food system: They are combatting both the stigma that food insecurity carries at institutions like Columbia, as well as the complete lack of awareness of the existence of food insecurity at Columbia among many leaders – faculty, administrators, and students alike. To do this they are collaborating with student organizations, faculty, and administrators to help boost advocacy and awareness across Columbia at large, primarily through new events and articles covering the issue.



2920 Broadway

New York, NY 10027

Core programs: 1) The food pantry, which opened last September 2) Philanthropy opportunities for Columbia students who want to work on food insecurity

Number of staff: 0 paid staff

Number of volunteers: Approximately 35 regular volunteers, including a student board made up of 6 individuals who put in 15-20 hours a week with The Food Bank at Columbia

Areas served: The entire Columbia University student body

Year started: 2016

Directors: Michael Higgins and Ramond Curtis

Contact information:

Michael Higgins –

Ramond Curtis –

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