By Michael Guido
SUNY Brockport students are hungry for more than just knowledge. Like many in Monroe County, there are SUNY Brockport students suffering from food insecurity.
Food insecurity is an issue plaguing Monroe County. According to recent statistics, 12.5% of the county’s population, or nearly 94,000 residents of Monroe County, suffer from food insecurity.
On top of this, the childhood food insecurity rates in Monroe County are even higher than the rates for the population as a whole. 18.1% of the Monroe County population under the age of 18 or a little over 29,000 children struggle with food insecurity.
With so many struggling with food insecurity, in October of 2022, Elizabeth Harden, a Brockport community member, decided to do something about it.
Harden built a food pantry in her front yard on Maxon Street, close to the SUNY Brockport campus, and filled it with some canned food and pasta.
“I kept hearing that there were college students who were hungry,” said Harden. “They weren’t able to access the dining hall, or it wasn’t open when they needed it to be, or they were simply low on funds and weren’t able to purchase groceries or meals. And that’s not okay. That’s why I built it,” said Harden
At first, Harden was the only one filling the pantry. All it took was one Facebook post on The Brockport Blog for the community to get involved.
“I started filling it and once word got out, especially through The Brockport Blog and different faculty groups on campus, I haven’t had to refill it nearly as much,” said Harden. “It’s now a whole community effort. We see people stop and open up their cars and put some things in and off they go, so it’s really expanded.”
The pantry is now visited multiple times a day by SUNY Brockport students in need. Harden sees students walk, drive and stop on runs in order to pick up the canned foods, ramen, pasta and more that the pantry is filled with.
“It empties almost every other day, so I would definitely say it is being used,” said Harden.
SUNY Brockport students are hungry for more than just knowledge, with the help of Elizabeth Harden and others,