Boxes of donated food
Food insecurity among students in the South Bronx has only been exacerbated by the global pandemic. Food insecurity is a very real problem for many Hostos students. Recently 1,600 of our students were sent the following text message: “Some Hostos students miss meals due to money…Do you face this challenge?” Alarmingly, 69% of respondents replied “yes,” and 14% replied “sometimes” for a total of 83% of respondents voluntarily reporting that they have lacked the money to feed themselves.

Wrapped boxes of donated foodBoth individual and organizational giving have been drastically reduced since the pandemic hit. Finding different ways to source donations has been one of the motivators of Idelsa Méndez.

Méndez reached out to Paola Martínez, Director of Social Services at the Betances Houses for Catholic Charities, which does a great deal of food distribution in the South Bronx. Catholic Charities has been working with the NYC Department of Sanitation to provide perishables and nonperishables for their food distribution initiative. Through this effort, 1,000 boxes of nonperishable food were secured for the Hostos Food Pantry for enrolled students facing food insecurity. The boxes contain rice, beans, pasta, tuna, and cereal. The Hostos food pantry will distribute milk, fruits, and vegetables to students and their families.
Box of canned food, rice and cereal
“The pandemic has had a significant impact on our students, and many are currently experiencing food insecurity for the very first time,” Fabian Wander, Director of Hostos’ Student Health Services, said. “Thanks to the very generous donation, the Hostos Community College Food Pantry is able to serve students and their families by providing them with food on a daily basis.”

The collaboration between Catholic Charities and the NYC Department of Sanitation helps bring much-needed resources to vulnerable populations. “If the pandemic has taught me anything, it’s this: It demonstrates the importance of relationships and the power of united efforts because we are all in this together and we must look out for each other,” Méndez shared.

Please consider a donation to the Hostos Make A Gift program—providing emergency funds for students who have been adversely affected by the pandemic. Any amount helps.