Food insecurity is an issue that impacts many college students. While public universities are required to provide support to students struggling to get a meal, private universities like Clark University are not. Over the past year, one of the project teams within Clark Sustainability Action (CSA) has been working to understand what resources are available for food-insecure students within the Clark community, if they are sufficient resources, and the story of food insecurity at Clark’s campus. This article aims to inform and give an overview of some of the closest food pantries to Clark as well as raise awareness about food insecurity on campus.
Catholic Charities’ Food Pantry at 10 Hammond St.—a nine-minute walk from Clark’s campus—is open from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. from Monday to Friday. They also aid in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP enrollment, which college students may be eligible for.
Centro Las Americas’ Emergency Food Pantry Services at 11 Sycamore St.—a 20-minute walk from Clark’s campus—is open from 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. They provide Spanish language services to the Latinx community in Worcester. No ID or proof of residency is required. For more information, you can call their number at (508) 798-1900.
The Good Samaritan Food Pantry at 85 Pleasant St.—a 28-minute walk from Clark’s campus—is open Tuesdays and Fridays from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. For more information, you can call their number at (774) 253-1619. St. Spyridon Greek Orthodox Cathedral at 102 Russell St.—a 25-minute walk from Clark’s campus—is open once a week on Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
St. Peter’s Catholic Church at 929 Main St.—a one minute walk from Clark’s campus—is open on Wednesdays from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. to Main South residents only.
Muslim Community Link is an organization that works to provide local, low-cost food through their Black Seed Farmer’s Market which accepts SNAP and is open Monday to Friday from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Denholm Building, 484 Main St., Suite 180, and Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at Regional Environmental Council’s (REC) University Park Farm Stand on 965 Main Street until the last weekend in October and Sunday year-round. Muslim Community Link is also a supporter of the Ujima Food Pantry, located at the Denholm Building, and focuses on international students. You can access their services with this form: https://forms.gle/ddTaCDxsCjKSKWc6A
REC is a provider of local and low-cost food in the Worcester community. Among other locations, REC has a mobile Farmer’s Market which visits 26 Queen St. weekly and accepts SNAP benefits.
Jeremiah’s Inn is a soup kitchen that is open for food pick-ups at 1059 Main St.—an 11-minute walk from Clark’s campus. They are open Mondays and Wednesdays from 12:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. and Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 2 p.m. If you call them at (508) 755-6403 and leave your name, they will prepare a bag for you to pick up!
The Mustard Seed Catholic Worker is another soup kitchen that supplies pickups. Located at 93 Piedmont St.—a 21 min walk from Clark’s campus—they provide takeout dinners that can be picked up from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on weekdays. They also have a food pantry option open at 3:30 p.m. on Wednesdays. For more information, call them at (508) 754-7098.
In addition to the above resources, the Clark Undergraduate Student Council (CUSC) is offering food to students through the Clark Food Pantry, located at the University Center and available anytime the building is open. All you need is your Clark ID and to check-in at the information desk. The information desk uses your swipe card to record demographic information so they can generate data on the success of the food pantry, but this will not result in a charge on your personal Clark account. The food pantry is available to graduate and undergraduate students and Clark staff and will remain open over winter break with reduced hours. Most food items are individually wrapped to ensure COVID-19 safety. New and refrigerated items are also available. For updates on hours and what is currently available follow the Clark Student Council Instagram at @clark_cusc.
While there seems to be plenty of food resources in the Clark and Worcester communities, they are not always ideal especially for students with classes to attend with limited access and participation. Through the student-run food pantry and community gardens on Charlotte St., this food insecurity issue is starting to be solved; however, the burden of feeding the student population should not fall on the shoulders of students themselves. Clark University’s administration fails to address the food insecurity issue and needs to work to understand the overall picture of food insecurity at Clark by providing the resources to help anxious students who go hungry, are low-income students, and food insecure.
The links for places discussed in this article can be found in our CSA Linktree: https://linktr.ee/CUSustAction
The food pantry services and times mentioned in this article may vary and shift due to COVID-19 restrictions and state guidelines. Beyond looking at their websites and to prevent visiting an unavailable and unopened food pantry, it is important to call these food pantries in advance to confirm their services and hours of operation since food pantries can often change their hours without updating their websites.
On another note, the student food insecurity at Clark University is an issue that has not been discussed or addressed explicitly within the Clark community at length by the Clark administration, especially during a pandemic as some students may face financial hardship. Food insecurity is a subtle oppression that does not help the marginalized low-income student nor students of color who are economically and disproportionately at a disadvantage. This is another issue on the list of “things not explicitly stated or addressed by the Clark administration.” Who else would be held accountable?
Luis Santos, News Editor