Last month, The New York City College of Technology — also known as City Tech —opened a new free student resource center stocked with fresh fruits, veggies, and other foods for any student who might need help securing a meal in Downtown Brooklyn.
The YellowJacket NEST (Nutrition for Education and Student Achievement) Resource Center officially opened on Nov. 15. With help and support from the school’s Office of Student Development and the Student Government Association, NEST ensures all students have access to nutritious food while they pursue their studies.
About $90,0000 in funding for the center came from $25,000 from student activity fees, a $25,000 grant from the Carroll and Milton Petrie Foundation, another $25,000 grant from the New York City Council Food Insecurity Program and, most recently, a $14,000 donation from the New York City Human Resources Administration.
Those grants and donations have allowed City Tech to buy food storage equipment including refrigerators and other supplies needed to keep the center stocked and running smoothly. The shelves are filled everything needed for a good meal: produce, dairy products, eggs and meat, and even dry goods like flour, beans, and rice. World Harvest Community Center regularly donates produce and dry goods, and GrowNYC supports the program by donating a variety of foods from greenmarkets.
Students are will have access to food that meet their specific dietary needs — like halal, kosher, vegetarian and more — as well as some hygiene products and some clothing items like socks, gloves, and scarves.
“We look forward to warmly welcoming students to the NEST, and making sure they receive the resources they need to succeed in their studies at City Tech,” said Vanessa Villanueva, Manager of the Office of Student Life and Development.
According to a 2019 study conducted by the Hope Center for College, Community and Justice at Temple University, out of the surveyed 167,000 college students, nearly 40% of students at both four-year institutions and two-year schools had experienced some form of food insecurity within the past 30 days. Before the NEST center was opened at City Tech, more than 1,000 students between Nov. 2020 and Dec. 2021 utilized Greenmarket vouchers at GrowNYC sites and visited the university’s pop-up pantry at another campus location.
To access these goods and services, students just need to book an appointment at the NEST center online and arrive at their scheduled time with their CUNY student ID, and the City Tech Foundation is accepting tax-deductible donations from those who want to help out.