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CUNY City College Food Pantry Pauses Operations, Cites Pro-Palestine Student Protests

Food-insecure students at the City College of New York may face additional hardships in finding food now that the school'sfood pantry has halted service amid ongoing the student protests on its campus in the wake of the conflict in Israel and Gaza. 

“We regret to inform you that due to the current demonstrations occurring on campus, we currently lack the necessary staffing to manage Benny’s Food Pantry effectively. Therefore, the [North Academic Center] Benny’s Pantry location will be closed until further notice.”

Additionally, the school’s migrant kitchen and fresh food pickups will also be postponed, and pantry officials will contact those with pre-existing appointments to reschedule once operations resume.Cuny City CollegeCCNY

Benny’s official site corroborates that the pantry’s operations are indeed paused and provides links to alternative New York food pantry resources.

Jay Mwamba, a college spokesperson, explained in an email that the pantry, which was closed for spring break and set to reopen fully on Wednesday, will now have its reopening postponed.

The food pantry is entirely run by volunteers and requires multiple teams – such as public safety teams – to provide resources, Mwamba wrote.

“We rely on our facilities and public safety teams to help us resource the pantry for both safety reasons and to keep the space in good order,” Mwamba wrote. “Those teams are now closely aligned with work needed to manage these extraordinary times on campus. We are hopeful that we will, once the demonstrations have ended, reopen and begin to do restocking.”

According to a 2022 student survey, 40% of CUNY students – an estimated 110,000 students – reported experiencing low or very low food security.

"For now, we have other sites available to our downtown campus students and our dorms and we are reaching out to local pantries to ensure we can list them on our website as temporary alternate sites," Mwamba wrote.

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