Meeting the basic needs of students in La Salle and throughout Pennsylvania

Laura B. Frank, Ph.D., director of La Salle’s campus food kitchen The Basket, receives a donation of frozen turkeys and chickens from Philabundance ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday.

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania named La Salle a member of its newly created Hunger-Free Campus Initiative.

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania included La Salle University in its first Pennsylvania Hunger-Free Campus Initiative.

La Salle joins a cohort of colleges and universities that are equally focused on addressing hunger and other basic needs of their students while providing opportunities for connection between like-minded advocates, campus resources and strategies, and funding opportunities to address food insecurity support.

The development of the Pennsylvania Hunger-Free Campus Initiative is rooted in Commonwealth efforts to reduce, and potentially eradicate, food insecurity on college and university campuses. According to the Commonwealth, more than a third of Pennsylvania college students have been unable to continue their education during the pandemic due to food insecurity. More than 50% in Pennsylvania reported food or housing insecurity in 2020.

Since opening in 2019, The Basket has served more than 3,000 student visitors and distributed more than £45,000 of groceries. The Basket also employs students through scholarships and work study funds, and offers internship, internship and service-learning hours to students in a range of majors.

“We are incredibly proud to receive this award from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, which demonstrates our commitment to supporting La Salle students and meeting their essential needs,” said Laura B. Frank, Ph.D., Principal of La Salles Campus Food Pantry The Basket and Professor of Nutrition at La Salle University School of Nursing and Health Sciences. “Joining a cohort of institutions dedicated to combating insecurity of basic student needs on campuses across Pennsylvania will give us access to tools, resources and funding opportunities that support the health, well-being and success of our students Prioritize it, whether it’s here in La Salle or elsewhere in Pennsylvania.”

La Salle combats food insecurity by providing direct food assistance to students through multiple channels.

Campus pantry The Basket stocks canned and packaged foods as well as fresh produce and dairy; fresh and frozen meat, poultry and seafood; and personal care items. All students can access The Basket with their La Salle ID, which has remained available throughout the pandemic.

Since opening in 2019, The Basket has served more than 3,000 student visitors and distributed more than £45,000 of groceries. The Basket also employs students through scholarships and work study funds, and offers internship, internship and service-learning hours to students in a range of majors.

The basket receives food donations from campus partners and external partners. Agency partner Philabundance, a non-profit food bank serving Philadelphia and the greater Delaware Valley area of ​​southeastern Pennsylvania, supplies groceries directly to La Salle and connects The Basket with surplus groceries from the Fresh Grocer location in the neighborhood through its Retail Rescue program.

The basket
Frank loads a frozen turkey for the students to pick up at The Basket.

In late October, La Salle and The Basket received a $10,000 grant from the Leo & Peggy Pierce Family Foundation, a Philadelphia-based nonprofit that fights food insecurity in the area. The Basket has also received $5,000 in grants from the Pincus Fund for Hunger Relief, another local nonprofit.

A campus food rescue, Free Food on Campus, complements The Basket. This service tracks leftovers from campus catered events and provides students with real-time electronic alerts so they can supplement their food sources with fresh, quality prepared food. Since the initiative started in 2017, more than 500 students have signed up to receive these notifications.

“Holistic caring for the whole person of our students has been fundamental to the Lasallian mission since the founding of Lasallian Schools over 300 years ago and as an institution dedicated to providing education and opportunities to students disadvantaged by society and marginalized,” Frank said. “We welcome the opportunity to expand our reach at home and to work with other educational institutions to develop a safety net that provides students across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania with the security of their basic needs.”

– Christopher A.Vito

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