A new agreement between Missouri State University’s Center for Community Engagement (CCE) and AmeriCorps will tackle food insecurity.
The agreement includes a grant that will support 10 AmeriCorps members working to address food insecurity for the university community.
AmeriCorps members will offer nutrition workshops, assess needs and help in the Bear Pantry, the university’s on-site food pantry. The partnership marks a significant step forward in ongoing efforts to reduce food insecurity increased by COVID-19.
AmeriCorps members will be recruited from the community and trained to align with the goals of “RELIEF,” the CCE’s new program for Recovering from COVID-19 through Education, Local partnerships, Interdisciplinary Efforts and Food assistance. RELIEF aims to raise the capacity of the Bear Pantry and alleviate food insecurity for students who may have limited access to other food pantries in the community.
The Bear Pantry will be a facilitating partner in the RELIEF program, as well as a hub for the AmeriCorps members’ efforts. They will interact with students, alumni, the local community and beyond.
Members will be coordinated by CCE Director Alex Johnson and supported by staff and faculty from additional university offices.
The CCE has started recruiting AmeriCorps members and will continue until Feb. 1. Further details and application information are available online.
Increase in food need due to COVID-19
COVID-19 has increased hunger and created a national food security crisis across the nation.
MSU’s bi-annual check-in survey was administered to over 16,000 students with a 44% response rate (over 7,000 students).
The survey revealed a trend: from spring 2020 to fall 2020, a 19.87% increase of students answered “yes” or “maybe” to needing food assistance.
Beginning fall 2020, as the pandemic continued to rage on, the Bear Pantry experienced a 31.58% increase in monthly demand for food assistance.
About the Center for Community Engagement
- The CCE connects all members of the Missouri State campus to opportunities within the community.
- It is a hub for experiential learning, research opportunities and positive change, to move the university’s public affairs mission forward.
- The university Bear Pantry is housed and supported by the CCE, and the oversight division “Public Affairs and Assessment” led by Associate Provost Dr. Keri Franklin.