The Nosh Food Pantry Opens at UHart
When the pandemic exacerbated existing problems of food insecurity across Connecticut, people of all ages felt the impact—including college students. Individuals and families flocked to local food pantries, both big and small, but the University of Hartford had a different idea: What if a food pantry was created on campus for UHart community members?
This month, the idea became a reality when the Nosh food pantry opened in the Gengras Student Union (GSU) 341. It is available to students, faculty, and staff, supported by Aramark (University Dining Services), and an approved partner of Connecticut Foodshare.
“This is a moment when the real character of the University of Hartford comes out. The heart of this University is so big and so beautiful, and this is an expression of that heart. I’m so pleased we could do this,” President Gregory Woodward said at a ribbon cutting during Hawktober week.
The pantry will provide non-perishable foods, and, on “Freshie Fridays,” offer fresh fruit and vegetables, courtesy of Aramark, says Llonia Rojan Jackson, director of cultural diversity and belonging in the Division of Student Success. Jackson and the Office of Student Engagement (OSEI) spearheaded the creation of The Nosh. In the future, frozen foods, toiletries, paper goods, and cleaning supplies will also be offered.
A local church donated freezers, while Aramark provided refrigerators.
"Folks all across campus and beyond came together to do something special here. People have said to me, ‘Some students are experiencing food insecurity? How is that possible? They have meal plans.' When you unpack this question, you realize the insecurity is related to access, affordability, and healthy options, which impact both holders and non-holders of meal plans. Also, it’s important to think about not just food insecurity on campus but in neighboring towns—that struggle with food deserts and lack the access to fresh and healthy options. When our students aren’t able to access enough food in their home communities, we can give them a boost here,” said Dean of Students Aaron Isaacs, who helped move freezers from the local church and built the Nosh shelving units with students.