BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — SUNY Erie Community College and FeedMore Western New York have opened a food pantry location at SUNY Erie's City Campus.
It is the first college in the region to partner with FeedMore WNY for an on-campus food pantry.
The collaboration follows Governor Andrew Cuomo's mandate last year to make sure all SUNY schools have food pantries on-campus.
It's free to students and members of the community who'd like to take advantage of it.
The pantry's main purpose is to provide immediate access to food, to students who are struggling to feed themselves.
"I was pretty appalled when I learned that more than half of college students today face hunger insecurity," said Tara Ellis, president and CEO of FeedMore WNY.
The inability to afford food puts students in a tough situation.
Their physical and mental health suffers, and it's a contributing factor to students dropping out, according to surveys the school
"It's like, okay, I have to be at class for 8, so I don't have the time to eat. Or some kids don't have the supplies. So this pantry downstairs would be a great contribution to the building," said Shakilah Gordon, a SUNY student. "Because I know there's a lot of kids who don't have the food, or don't have the money 'cause they're paying tuition, or bills."
Gordon said one time a fellow student told her she hadn't eaten in three days.
"This allows them to address a basic human need, and not have to worry about either working extra hours so that they can, you know, make additional resources to support their family," said Dr. Dan Hocoy, President of SUNY Erie.
Pantry staff will help students through the application process.
According to the college, additional pantries will open at SUNY Erie's North and South campuses in the next few months.
The food pantry is located in room 145 in the Old Post Office Building, and will be open on Mondays from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m., and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.