by Stefanie Mael and Annette Nielsen
Last Thursday, July 27th, CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez, Hunter College Interim President Ann Kirschner, and Food Bank for New York City President and CEO Leslie Gordon toured the Purple Apron Food Pantry at Hunter College and announced that food assistance continues to be available to CUNY students throughout the remainder of the summer.
President Ann Kirschner said, “Student success is our number one priority at Hunter College, and that means not only providing academic support but recognizing the factors of real life, like food insecurity. Hunger doesn’t take a break during the summer months, so we keep our Purple Apron pantry open year round.” The Purple Apron is one of 21 CUNY pantries open to all students regardless of income level or what CUNY school they attend. Visiting the Purple Apron Food Pantry was one of her first events as President, showing her commitment to this important issue.
Food insecurity is a difficult reality for many students, and about 1 in 3 students in the United States face food insecurity. In 2022, Healthy CUNY conducted a survey and found that 40% of CUNY students feel that they have “low” or “very low” food security. Many students find themselves juggling work, school, and family obligations. It can be challenging to keep up with all of this and also be sure they have enough to eat. Hunger can negatively impact academic performance; without enough food, it is more challenging for students to stay focused in the classroom causing grades to suffer. Students who are food-insecure tend to have lower GPAs than food-secure students.
Hunter College has two Purple Apron Pantries – one at the main 68th Street campus and one at the Brookdale campus. A variety of shelf-stable foods such as milk, pasta, rice, grits, canned fruit, vegetables, tuna, mackerel, sardines, and chili can be found at both locations. At the 68th Street campus, you can find additional items such as frozen fruits, vegetables, meat, chicken, and tofu, and kosher and halal options are also often available.
The Hunter College Purple Apron food pantry has inspired former students like Hashina Sumy (Hunter College ‘23). “As a first-generation college student, my journey at Hunter College was filled with challenges, especially during the pandemic, and the food pantry provided me with essentials during tough times.” Hashina Sumy now works at the 68th Street Purple Apron Food Pantry and says, “Seeing the impact the pantry has on the lives of others has been heartening. I am grateful for the opportunity to give back by contributing to the well-being of my fellow students and the wider Hunter community.”
The Hunter College 68th Street Purple Apron pantry is located in Room B103, on the lower level of the west building (open: Monday 9 am to 2 pm, Tuesday 1 to 6 pm, Thursday 9 am to 2 pm, and Friday 1 pm to 6 pm). The Purple Apron pantry at the Brookdale campus (425 East 25th Street, main lobby) will resume open hours in the fall 2023 semester.
From left: Assemblymember Alex Bores, Hunter Interim President Ann Kirschner, Food Bank for NYC President and CEO Leslie Gordon, Director of Student Life Miesha Smith and Chancellor Matos Rodríguez visit the pantry at Hunter College.