Bowie State University to open free healthy food pantry for students

Most of us think about football when it comes to the college experience — but a lot of students struggle with finding food.

Bowie State University, Maryland’s oldest historically black university, will establish a nutrition pantry offering healthy foods at no cost with the goal of ensuring that no student goes hungry.

Opening its doors this spring, the new Bowie State Nutrition Lounge is the result of a $10,000 partnership with Food Lion Feeds, the grocer’s hunger relief initiative, and will be regularly stocked by a local Food Lion store and the nonprofit Capital Area Food Bank.

There will be space for students to work and eat, with couches, tables and a monitor with nutritional advice, beside shelves stocked with fresh produce and nonperishable goods.

“This gift from Food Lion Feeds, along with the ongoing partnership of Food Lion and Capital Area Food Bank, will make an incredible difference for our Bowie State students, who sometimes struggle to afford healthy food options,” Brent Swinton, the school’s vice president of institutional advancement, said.

In a news release announcing the pantry’s opening, Bowie State cited a 2019 study finding that 45% of college students asked about food security at more than 100 higher ed institutions nationwide had gone hungry within the last month.

Bowie State said some of its own students live off only one meal per day, and hopes the lounge will help its student body get through long days with a hearty snack.

“Students should be focused on learning, not where their next meal will come from,” Jason Bullock, Food Lion’s Bowie area director, said. “Caring for our neighbors in the towns and cities we serve is important to us, so we’re excited about this new space to help nourish the Bowie State community.”

WTOP’s Del Walters contributed to this report.

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