The latest program at The Hub to combat food insecurity serves free food every Tuesday and Friday from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. to students facing food insecurity.
Located in the original Student Center, The Hub first opened on February 6 this year as a campus resource “to ensure personal wellbeing and opportunity for academic success,” according to its press release statement. The program was created by Christy Schlutius, president of the Food Recovery Network at UC San Diego (FRN@UCSD), and Alicia Magallanes, the campus’ basic needs coordinator, to find a way to deliver recovered food to food-insecure students on campus.
“This program is something that is groundbreaking for UC campuses,” said Schlutius. “The ultimate goal of this is to solve student hunger by offering fresh food to students who self-identify as food insecure and help solve the issue of food waste at the same time.”
Prior to the program’s inception, FRN@UCSD delivered all of its food to Urban Street Angels, a transitional youth homeless shelter that feeds San Diego’s homeless community. But in Schlutius’ and Magallanes’ mission to combat food insecurity on campus, Schlutius funded the installation of a commercial-grade refrigerator into The Hub through a grant from The Green Initiative Fund. This fridge was installed mid-Winter Quarter 2018, and the program immediately started giving out food from the on-campus Farmers’ Market and the Faculty Club every Tuesday and Friday.
“One benefit of this program that I am very excited about is that it provides an immediate need to students who are facing food insecurity, especially those that may not qualify for other resources like CalFresh,” said Schlutius.“For example, international or undocumented students do not qualify for CalFresh, so these food deliveries help bridge this need by offering an immediate, no-questions-asked resource twice a week.”
Since its launch, the program serves approximately 100 to 150 students each time. Schlutius emphasizes that, as its popularity grows, the program is designed to serve students facing food insecurity and asks students not to exploit it.
“We do not turn anyone away, but as this program gains traction and notoriety on campus I really want to stress that this is not just a club giving away free food; this is food that is recovered by volunteer members of Food Recovery Network to directly solve the issue of food insecurity,” Schlutius said. “Anyone who needs it at any level is warmly welcomed, but the program is not meant to be exploited.”
Students attending the program are asked to bring their own plates and utensils.