Campus food pantry addresses food insecurity in Roxbury

Local News

Roxbury Community College recently opened the Rox Box to help students and staff in need.

A local community college is tackling food insecurity among staff and students with its first-ever on-campus food pantry, dubbed the Rox Box. 

Roxbury Community College (RCC) recently opened the Rox Box to coincide with Hunger Action Month, which was in September. The pantry will be stocked with an assortment of perishable and non-perishable food items along with some personal care products, according to the college’s website. Students and staff were able to begin using the pantry on Oct. 3. 

According to the college, food insecure college students are less likely to finish their degrees, and an estimated 37 percent of Massachusetts public university students are currently experiencing food insecurity. 

“Some of our students say they worry about running out of food before they have money to buy more,” Associate Dean of Students Lisa Carter said in a press release. “This pantry has been a long time coming. It means a lot to us.” 

Two years before the launch of the pantry, the college helped one of its students who had hit a financial rough patch. Thirty-five-year-old RCC Student Trustee Kiara Rosario, who is also a single mother of an autistic daughter, told administrators that she nearly had to drop out of college due to her struggle with food insecurity. 

RCC provided Rosario with gift cards and gave her the chance to do work study to earn money. 

“I juggle multiple roles as a student, mom, work-study employee, and leader. While each requires energy, food is crucial to my success,” said Rosario in a news release. 

The pantry is funded by a $180,000 Community College Campus Hunger Program Grant, a $50,000 Rowland Foundation Grant, and a $25,000 donation from the Eos Foundation. This project is also supported by a grant from the Stop & Shop School Food Pantry Program.

“It is our hope that no student goes to school hungry and today we are one step closer to that goal,” said Jennifer Barr, Stop & Shop Director of Community Relations.