Food insecurity across college campuses is an unfortunate reality that exists among students at Bridgewater. For the past six years, the food bank, discreetly located in RCC by the theatre department, has helped combat this social injustice by providing students with access to food, toiletries, and a sense of warmth from its founders Jane Doherty and her daughter Julia. Until this past fall, the Food Bank 4 U, was operated by this incredible duo as a proud agency of the Greater Boston Food Bank as well as a partner of Sodexo. The majority of the inventory has relied on the contributions from the campus community.
The sudden transition from J’s Market to the hands of the university has left many students confused by its changes as well as frustrated leaving written comments in the room such as, “bring back the old food bank.” Part of an ad for the self-serve market published in The Comment last March wrote, ‘What about Food Bank 4 U? Nothing will change! Always will remain open when RCC is!’ Students returned to the absence of their fridge that provided the accessibility to fresh food such as eggs, produce, milk, frozen yogurt, potatoes, and a changing variety of other foods that were made possible by Jane and Julia’s connection with the Greater Boston Food Bank.
Due to the recent shift in management, the relationship with the Greater Boston Food Bank is temporarily paused until the university can adequately staff for things like traveling to access a wider variety or maintaining consistent hours of operation that are required to ensure the health and safety of students. The university fully recognizes the need to provide students with the resources they need and is doing their best as a campus community to create a stronger foundation and is making strides in the right direction.
While renovations are taking place to improve the space physically, in the works are concrete plans of a system wide advisory board to include students, faculty, and community partners. One of their missions has been to identify ways to track foot traffic and inventory to better serve students and determine what is in high demand. The research has begun with a survey through Hopelap to help learn more about the population of our student body that faces hunger.
Currently tackling the day to day operations are Kaitlyn Dyleski, assistant director for operations for OSIL and Eileen Estudante, director of student outreach and special programs. Also playing a major lead with #FeedTheBears is student led group, Bears Who Care. Students who wish to contribute their time or resources can donate non-perishable goods at the RCC front desk or contact Bears Who Care or Kaitlyn Dyleski. Provided in the food bank are pamphlets with information to sixteen local food banks that are nearby campus that range from just 0.29 miles to 7 miles away.
Food Banks Within Walking Distance
Central Square CC Food Bank (0.29 Miles from campus)
Open every Thursday 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m and the first Monday of each month from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
71 Central Square
Bridgewater, MA 02324
0.29 Miles from campus
SVDP/ Saint Thomas Aquinas (1.09 Miles from campus)
Open Thursdays 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.
103 Center Street
Bridgewater, MA 02324