Task force aims to study, find solutions for food security among SUNY students

UNIONDALE — A state-wide task force has formed to address food insecurity among college students in the SUNY system. The task force met at Nassau Community College on Thursday.

In addition to the study of food insecurity, part of the task force’s goal is to also recommend necessary changes. As part of the program they heard testimony from people who have utilized the Nassau Community College food pantry also referred to as the “NEST.”

“I am a staff member and I have been working at Nassau Community College for 19 years,” said NCCC faculty member April Lambert.

She knew when she couldn’t afford her diabetes medicine and the proper food to help her stay healthy, she needed help. Lambert and her husband work, but when asked if she was going to be enjoying a Thanksgiving meal a few years ago, she responded…

“…I said ‘I don’t have Thanksgiving fixings. I don’t have that.’ She said ‘don’t worry about that April. Just come to the NEST,’” Lambert said.

The NEST provided her and her family with a Thanksgiving meal and many healthy meals to follow.

Students also go to the nest for food assistance. Local data shows 9.7 percent of adults receiving food assistance were full time students. Seventy percent of SUNY campuses now have an on-site food pantry. Thirty percent of those are in partnership with an off-campus food pantry. The NEST is supported locally by Island Harvest and Long Island Cares.

“The NEST runs on the selflessness of our NCC facility, staff, the whole community, especially I want to recognize our students,” said NEST Executive Director Professor Sharon Masrour.