SUNY Plattsburgh helps students make it through tough times

School is years ahead of Gov. Cuomo's order to set up a food pantry

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. - In this year's State of the State Address, Gov. Andrew Cuomo called it the No Student Goes Hungry prorgam.

Every SUNY or CUNY campus will have its own food pantry for students by the end of the fall semester.

SUNY Plattsburgh has already had one for a couple of years.

"Before that, we still had students with food insecurity, but we handled it internally," SUNY Plattsburgh director of special programs Michele Carpentier said. "Four or five years ago, we decided to formalize the program and we have a full-running food shelf."

Among other things, it's stocked with soup, canned vegetables, ramen noodles -- a staple for students everywhere -- and hygiene products, feminine and otherwise.

Students don't have to leave their names to use the pantry, so this isn't exact, but anywhere from 20 to 30 students are believed to use the pantry every week.

"Near the end of the semester, we see more traffic," Carpentier said. "At the beginning, not as much traffic, but this year, for some reason, at the beginning of this semester we saw a lot of traffic in the first few weeks."

It's also in a new home this year in Macomb Hall, right across the street from the Angell College Center.

The University Police are one of the groups that the donations to the food pantry most frequently come from.

"We get a lot of support from Chartwells, which is our food service group on campus, the ones that provide the regular food service," Carpentier said. "Individual faculty members. This summer, our Career Development Center ran a personal care thing for us."

Carpentier says staying ahead of the curve is a high priority for SUNY Plattsburgh.

"We like to anticipate student needs and make sure that we have them ready to go," she said. "This was one of the areas where we were able to anticipate, and we're glad we were able to anticipate so we can serve students."

The pantry is available whenever SUNY Plattsburgh's Student Support Services office is open, which is from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

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