Combatting Student Hunger Across Pennsylvania with the PA Hunger-Free Campus Grants

First Lady Frances WolfFirst Lady Frances Wolf (Credit: Commonwealth Media Services)

PENNSYLVANIA — Governor Tom Wolf and First Lady Frances Wolf yesterday announced that $1 million in PA Hunger-Free Campus grants have been awarded to 28 institutions of higher education (IHE) and private licensed schools to combat student hunger across the commonwealth.

This is a critical issue, as more than a third of students know someone who dropped out of college due to food insecurity during the pandemic. The PA Hunger-Free Campus designation and grant program gives Pennsylvania’s colleges and universities the tools they need to combat hunger on their campuses and provide students with access to healthy food so they can stay focused, learn, and grow.

The 28 institutions represent the first cohort of awardees since the program’s creation earlier this year.

“Hunger should never be what holds someone back from taking steps to invest in their future – and the future of Pennsylvania. From high school graduates pursuing career pathways to adults making career changes and adapting to shifts in workforce needs, students deserve proper support in achieving their higher education goals,” said First Lady Wolf. “I’m proud that the Hunger-Free Campus program can offer that support and look forward to seeing the innovative ways that schools address food insecurity on their campuses.”

Awardees include:

Allegheny County

  • Carnegie Mellon University, $59,996
  • La Roche University, $20,000
  • Pittsburgh Technical College, $19,400
  • Robert Morris University, $39,911
  • University of Pittsburgh, $60,000

Berks County

  • Kutztown University of Pennsylvania, $60,000
  • Reading Area Community College, $40,000

Bucks County

  • Bucks County Community College, $59,945

Centre County

  • Pennsylvania State University, $60,000
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Chester County

Columbia County

  • Commonwealth University, $60,000

Delaware County

  • Cabrini University, $20,000
  • Neumann University, $20,000

Erie County

  • Mercyhurst University, $20,000

Franklin

Lackawanna County

  • Johnson College, $20,000
  • Lackawanna College, $20,000

Lancaster County

  • Millersville University of Pennsylvania, $40,000
  • Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology, $20,000

Lawrence County

  • Westminster College, $20,000

Lehigh County

  • Cedar Crest College, $20,000
  • Lehigh Carbon Community College, $40,000

Monroe County

  • East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania, $40,000

Montgomery County

  • Arcadia University, $40,000

Philadelphia County

  • La Salle University, $40,000
  • University of the Arts, $13,767

Snyder County

  • Susquehanna University, $12,458

Washington County

  • Pennsylvania Western University, $60,000

Last summer, First Lady Wolf and Acting Secretary of Education Eric Hagarty unveiled the Hunger-Free Campus Initiative, featuring the PA Hunger-Free Campus and PA Hunger-Free Campus+ designations, to build a coalition of Pennsylvania institutions of IHEs focused on addressing hunger and other basic needs for their students, creating opportunities for connection among student hunger advocates, providing resources and strategies for campuses, and supporting opportunities to apply for grants related to addressing food insecurity.

Through the 2022-2023 PA Hunger-Free Campus Grant Program, colleges with the PA Hunger-Free Campus or PA Hunger-Free Campus+ designation applied for competitive funding in an amount up to:

  • $20,000 for institutions with 3,000 or fewer learners;
  • $40,000 for institutions with 3,001 to 7,000 learners; and
  • $60,000 for institutions with 7,001 learners or more.

Postsecondary institutions that received a PA Hunger-Free Campus+ designation implemented additional innovative solutions to address student hunger and other basic needs for their campus community in conjunction with demonstrating additional criteria. Examples of these initiatives included offering a variety of meal plans, including an option that provides ten or fewer meals weekly to avoid interfering with SNAP eligibility, creating or implementing meal-sharing programs, educating student leaders on campus to develop student-centered programs, or facilitating innovative community partnerships.

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The grants are awarded with the purpose of addressing food insecurity on campus, including expanding access to food options, creating awareness initiatives, and upgrading facilities. Awardees will be able to utilize the grant funds until December 31, 2023.

The PA Hunger-Free Campus designations are reopened and institutions can apply. Designees receive a certificate of recognition and placement on the PA Hunger-Free Campus website, and they also have an opportunity to apply for future grant opportunities.

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