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August 2, 2023

Worcester State granted $75K to confront food insecurity, possibly create affordable campus market

Photo | Timothy Doyle Worcester State University

Worcester State University has received $75,000 in American Rescue Plan Act funding as part of Massachusetts’ effort to address food insecurity as part of the Hunger Free Campus Initiative Grant program. 

According to East Boston-based nonprofit Project Bread, 37% of public university students in Massachusetts experience food insecurity, with the problem disproportionately affecting Black indigenous people of color (BIPOC) students.

At Worcester State University, the grant will support an 18-month effort to strategically address food insecurity on campus. The plan calls for using a multi-pronged approach to explore the feasibility of an affordable campus market set up as an EBT retailer; creation of campus spaces where students can prepare and consume their own food; and a plan to sustain these efforts after the grant funding period, according to a July report from WSU.

The grant will be administered by Professor Adam Saltzman of the school’s Urban Studies Department’s Urban Action Institute.

The program is part of a $3.7-million push by the state to beat hunger on college campuses. 

"These inequities continue due to increasing inflation, poverty, unemployment, lack of affordable housing, chronic health conditions, and systemic racism," Dr. Matilde Castiel, Worcester's commissioner for health and human services, told the State House News Service in 2022. "We have seen a tripling rise in applications for SNAP benefits and a demand for more food in the food pantries."

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