By: Mary-Ellen Davis, contributing writer
Two new programs are coming to Towson University to help eliminate food insecurity on campus.
The two programs take different approaches to helping students, faculty and staff deal with food insecurity.
One program, the FoodShare, is based out of the Newman Center across the street from campus.
FoodShare is similar to a food pantry and requires users to fill out a brief questionnaire to determine what food items the participant needs. It provides participants with up to ten food items per week.
This program will take place at the Newman Center on Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and on Thursdays from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m, beginning on August 30.
The other program is a Food Insecurity Support Fund, put together in part through the 2016 President’s Leadership Institute.
Ray Feldmann, a spokesman for TU said the group decided to try and help students after learning “there is a student hunger issue on this campus.”
The PLI is a group of faculty and staff who are selected in the fall of each academic year for an intensive, year-long leadership program.
According to the program’s website, the Food Insecurity Support Fund places meal points on the OneCards of students in need, allowing them to immediately purchase a meal at one of TU’s dining halls while protecting the students’ anonymity.
Assistant to the Vice President of Student Affairs Christina Olstad works directly with students, and with the new program in place, Olstad follows a series of steps to give students the aid that they need.
Olstad first “reaches out to [Director of Financial Aid David Horne] to see if the student is able to receive any more financial aid from the school.”
If additional aid is not available, Olstad will then request money from the Food Insecurity Support Fund to put on the OneCard of the student in need.
Director of the Annual Campaign and PLI member Brittany Shaff said she believes that the programs will reduce the stigma surrounding asking for financial aid.
According to Shaff, many students tend to be embarrassed and do not wish to place themselves in a category where they need this type of assistance.
Senior Communications Manager and PLI member Megan Bradshaw said that they will use “social media and really any platform where students can discuss the issue” to spread awareness about these programs.
You can give to the fund through its website.