Growing demand for food leads UConn to expand Husky Harvest pantry in Waterbury
Faculty, staff and students gathered at UConn Waterbury Wednesday to announce that its food pantry, Husky Harvest, is moving to a larger space — not long after its original opening on Jan. 17.
The goal is to accommodate a growing need for food among some students.
According to the university, when the original location opened, food ran out within an hour, prompting the student government to donate $1,000 worth of gift cards to stock the shelves for the next day.
After UConn surveyed its students, it found that 50.5% of them face some kind of food insecurity and that UConn Waterbury students are the most in need.
Jason Jakubowski, president and CEO of Connecticut Foodshare, a nonprofit dedicated to ending long-term hunger across the state, said there’s a big need for food pantries on college campuses.
“You have students struggling to figure out what they are going to spend their money on. Are they going to pay for internet access? Are they going to pay for tuition and books? Are they going to pay for food? And all too often, food is the thing that goes by the wayside,” Jakubowski said. “Food is the thing that they’ll say, ‘Well, I can go without a meal today, I can go without a meal tomorrow.’”
The new food pantry will have more flexible hours and will include space for shelves, refrigerators and freezers. It will also have a waiting area so that students won’t have to stand in line.
The pantry is at 99 E. Main St. in Suite 107. To donate directly to Husky Harvest Waterbury, monetary donations can be made online. Food donations can be made through its Amazon wish list.