Alvernia University received an official PA Hunger-Free Campus designation from the Pennsylvania Department of Education.
“This designation underscores Alvernia’s commitment to mission-driven inclusive excellence and academic excellence by ensuring that students, faculty and staff feel comfortable and supported on campus,” said Alvernia Vice President of Mission, Diversity and Inclusion, Dr. Darryl C. Mace. “This recognition is the result of phenomenal work with Clare’s Cupboard on the part of Katelyn Canning ’22, MSW ‘23; Jamie Caporizo; and Laurel Radzieski. Their efforts both address and attempt to eradicate food insecurity on campus, a deeply troubling issue faced by colleges and universities nationwide.”
To advance student food security efforts across the state, the Pennsylvania Office of the First Lady and the Department of Education (PDE) are piloting the Pennsylvania Hunger-Free Campus initiative. The initiative includes building a coalition of colleges and universities 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.
“The Hunger-Free Campus Designation that was recently bestowed on Alvernia’s food pantry, Clare’s Cupboard, is such a rewarding accolade that will allow us to serve our campus community in even greater ways,” said Tracy Hine, who has worked with Clare’s Cupboard since its inception. “We are so proud of the growth that Clare’s Cupboard has seen over the past four years and this opportunity will contribute to future growth and sustainability to meet the needs of our students.”
Clare’s Cupboard is an integrated, community-based resource geared toward enhancing Alvernia community members’ quality of life on campus. It has locations at the Reading, Pottsville and Philadelphia campuses and aims to meet the unique needs of individuals as they focus on their personal, social, and academic growth.
“Achieving the PA Hunger-Free campus status is a goal I’ve had since I started working with Clare’s Cupboard in 2020,” said Senior Director of Mission and Ministry and Staff Advisor, Clare’s Cupboard, Jamie Caporizo. “Clare’s Cupboard continues to be a more inclusive and welcoming place not only in what is able to give the students but in the way the students have embraced it. Students in the Class of 2021 even gave their class gift to Clare’s Cupboard and I was touched by that act of generosity and stewardship from our own students.”
Through generous donations from students, internal and external partners, friends and community members, it offers food, toiletries, clothing, housewares, and academic assistance for free to Alvernia students in need. Clare’s Cupboard also offers non-perishable food items, toiletries, casual and business attire, housewares, school supplies, and Grab N Go frozen meals 24/7 in the lobby of Veronica Hall In partnership with Aladdin Dining Services.
“I watched Clare’s Cupboard expand and reach more students during my time working in and with the cupboard. We have become a well-known service on campus in which students can seek out food assistance in privacy without feeling shame or judgment,” said Clare’s Cupboard Administrator, Katelyn Canning ‘22 MSW ‘23. “I have dedicated my time to creating connections with other food pantries and organizations as well as making decisions to help improve the cupboard for our students.”