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UB launches Blue Table online food pantry service

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Fri, Nov 15th 2019 04:05 pm

First campuswide food drive for Blue Table will take place Nov. 18-22 throughout UB

University at Buffalo students who have trouble accessing affordable food now have support on campus from Blue Table. The online food pantry service began with a soft launch in April and has been fully operational since the beginning of the fall semester.

While food insecurity – the reduced quality, variety or intake of food because of affordability – may not be an issue that one ordinarily thinks college students face, it has become a growing concern on the nation’s college campuses.

“Food insecurity does not exist in isolation and can impact a wide range of individuals, including our students,” said Christina Hernandez, senior associate vice president and officer in charge for student life. “Blue Table provides connections to those in need in the form of food and referral to local sources.”

Last year, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and SUNY Chancellor Kristina Johnson announced an initiative, No Student Goes Hungry, that requires all SUNY and CUNY campuses to implement food pantry or stigma-free food access programs.

A collaboration between student life and the undergraduate student association, Blue Table is available to UB students “who experience unanticipated hardship and as a result don’t have consistent access to healthy food,” said Ben Fabian, assistant director for student support in student conduct and advocacy, and a member of the Blue Table oversight group.

Blue Table offers students specific healthy food options; a list of the items that are collected is available online.

Students using Blue Table complete an online order form that includes a list of diverse and healthy food options that are available each week. Once the order is received, the groceries are bagged and ready to be picked up in 235 Student Union.

Since launching in April, Blue Table has distributed more than 400 bags of groceries.

The first campuswide food drive for Blue Table will take place Nov. 18-22. Drop-off locations are at 235 Student Union, 1Capen, 350 Student Union, The Elli in the Ellicott Complex, 120 Crofts Hall and 520 Capen Hall on the North Campus; 1 Diefendorf Hall and Harriman Hall on the South Campus; and on the first floor of the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences’ building on the Downtown Campus.

Maria Wallace director of student unions and chair of the Blue Table oversight group, said, “We need the university’s support to sustain a food pantry for our students.”

A crowdfunding drive also is underway through the end of November to raise money to sustain Blue Table. So far, more than 80% of the $10,000 goal has been raised.

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