New York Tech’s food pantry, the Grizzly Cupboard, opened earlier this month as an inclusive, welcoming, and confidential resource to students enrolled at the Long Island and New York City campuses. Supporting the goal to offer free, wholesome, and healthy nonperishable food items is a generous donation from Stop & Shop, which has a longstanding history of giving back to the neighborhoods it serves with a focus on fighting hunger. Stop & Shop has donated $10,000 in gift cards to New York Tech to purchase food items to stock pantry shelves.
The Grizzly Cupboard is part of the Bear Bytes initiative, which provides students with food as well as health and wellness resources and information. Bear Bytes is a collaborative effort among partners like Stop & Shop and internal resources, including Campus Dining, NYIT School of Management Student Advisory Board, and a committee whose members include nutrition experts from NYIT School of Health Professions, among others. (See sidebar for a list of members).
Bear Bytes Initiative Committee Members
- Tiffani Blake, Assistant Provost for Student Engagement & Development
- Tiffany Ciprian, Associate Director of Counseling & Wellness, New York City Campus
- Patricia Duran, Senior Director, Student Accounts
- Kelli-Ann Francis, Student Support Specialist, New York City Campus
- Victoria Greco, Director of Annual Giving, Development and Alumni Relations
- Mindy Haar, Assistant Dean and Chair, Interdisciplinary Health Sciences, School of Health Professions
- Kinsley McNulty, Programming Coordinator, Student Engagement, New York City Campus
- Lorraine Mongiello, Associate Professor, Interdisciplinary Health Sciences and Clinical Nutrition, School of Health Professions
- Zennabelle Sewell, Associate Dean of Students, New York City Campus
- Clarissa Shenocker, Student Support Specialist, Long Island Campus
“We are grateful to Stop & Shop for its partnership and sense of community, as it will require a collaborative effort to help address the societal need and resolve the problem of food insecurity,” said Tiffani Blake, M.S., M.Ed., assistant provost for student engagement and development and the driving force behind Bear Bytes.
While plans for the Grizzly Cupboard were in development based on research conducted before the COVID-19 pandemic, Blake notes that launching Bear Bytes and the food pantry is important now more than ever. “A healthy lifestyle, including access to food and wellness resources and education in a stigma-free environment, is essential for students to reach their highest personal and academic potential,” she said.
“Stop & Shop is proud to support the efforts of New York Institute of Technology. No student should have to choose between food and an education,” said Stefanie Shuman, community relations manager for Stop & Shop. “Some college students are worried about where their next meal will come from, and we want to help them instead to be able to focus on learning. This food pantry will allow New York Tech to help students succeed in the classroom.”
Stop & Shop in Greenvale, N.Y., less than one mile from New York Tech’s Long Island campus, is where Blake and her team will purchase food pantry items. New York Tech can reapply for an additional in-kind donation annually, as needed.
To continue ensuring that students have access to the wholesome and healthy food they need, New York Tech is working to secure additional partnerships, primarily with food banks on Long Island and in New York City.