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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

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HawkHub addresses food and basic needs insecurity on campus

HawkHub is located in the Writing Center in Merion Hall. PHOTO: THE HAWK

HawkHUB, a food and basic needs resource center for members of the university community, officially opened last week in the Writing Center in Merion Hall. 

Run by students and faculty, the center provides primarily nonperishable food, personal products and school supplies to students, faculty and staff facing food and basic needs insecurity. 

The center is funded entirely by donations from the university community. 

The group launched a pilot program last spring but ultimately closed about a month after campus shut down. This year, students formed an official club, overseen by faculty members Becki Scola, Ph.D., associate professor and chair of the Political Science Department; Jenny Spinner, Ph.D., professor of English; Brian Yates, Ph.D., assistant professor of history; and Janée Burkhalter, Ph.D., associate professor of marketing.

Scola pointed to a research study conducted on campus which showed that 11-12% of the St. Joe’s undergraduate population had difficulty affording food, 12% had difficulty affording housing and about 35% were financially challenged.

“The idea was to open up a space for people who are experiencing different challenges to have some of those needs met,” Scola said. “The first one that we decided to address was food insecurity, but the goal, of course, was to grow it into something that was even bigger, that would look at other needs as well.”

Dylan Judge ’20, HawkHUB treasurer, said the resource center is mainly addressing food insecurity, but also “any other insecurities” that affect people unable to acquire basic needs.

“St. Joe’s does have this population that is silently struggling with meeting basic needs,” Judge said. “We are just trying to help out our community, especially now with COVID-19.” 

The club also is hosting Fresh Food Friday events, with items donated from Einstein Bros. In the future, the group might also include donations collected by another group on campus, the St. Joes chapter of Sharing Excess, which plans to collect excess food from local farms, Aramark, Saxby’s and Campion Dining Hall to distribute to various pop-up locations on campus. 

HawkHUB President Madeline Demarco ’22  said a lot of other departments on campus are addressing issues of food insecurity, and HawkHUB wanted to contribute in their own way.

“Dr. Scola and Dr. Yates were sure there was food insecurity happening amongst students, faculty, and staff, but they needed to ask around other departments to see,” Demarco said. “A lot of departments on their own were having granola bars in their department office or they had extra textbooks. We wanted to extend the resources they were providing.”

HawkHUB is open in Merion Hall 162 on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 3-6 p.m., Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4-8 p.m., and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. No-contact pick-up, via a Google order form, will be available on the club’s website. 

Carly Calhoun ’21 contributed to this story

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