outside on campus at dusk

RCC Opens Rox Box Food Pantry

RCC Opens Rox Box Food Pantry

ribbon cutting ceremony for Rox Box food pantry led by RCC's project access and lisa carter, associate dean of students
Associate Dean of Students Lisa Carter leads the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

September is Hunger Action Month. Studies have shown food insecure college students are less likely to finish their degrees and an estimated 37% of public university students in Massachusetts are experiencing food insecurity. On Friday September 22, Roxbury Community College (RCC) held a ribbon cutting ceremony celebrating its food pantry Rox Box, which was named by one of its students.

“Some of our students say they worry about running out of food before they have money to buy more,” said Associate Dean of Students Lisa Carter. “This pantry has been a long time coming. It means a lot to us.” The pantry will be continually stocked with a variety of both perishable and non-perishable items as well as personal care products. Students or staff who register can visit the Rox Box as needed starting October 3.

Without support from RCC, Student Trustee Kiara Rosario would have quit college when she was experiencing food insecurity two years ago. “I juggle multiple roles as a student, mom, work-study employee, and leader. While each requires energy, food is crucial to my success,” she said. RCC provided Rosario with gift cards and gave her the opportunity to do work study. Since that time, the 35-year-old single mother of an autistic daughter has thrived at RCC and is a voice for students in her many leadership roles.

The pantry was made possible by a $180,000 Community College Campus Hunger Program Grant funded through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and administered through the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education, a $50,000 Rowland Foundation Grant, and a $25,000 donation from the Eos Foundation.

This project is also supported by a grant from the Stop & Shop School Food Pantry Program that works directly with schools to establish and support food pantries to ensure that students don’t have to go to school hungry, and to help them perform their best. “It is our hope that no student goes to school hungry and today we are one step closer to that goal,” said Jennifer Barr, Stop & Shop Director of Community Relations. In addition to the financial commitment to RCC, Stop & Shop associates pitched in volunteer time and effort, committing manpower and materials to build the Rox Box and make the pantry come to life. Stop & Shop supports 20 School Food Pantry partners across the city of Boston, totalling to a commitment of nearly $400,000 since the program’s inception. Other donations came from Proctor & Gamble and Dignity Matters.

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