On November 29, the New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG) hosted the Jam If You Can Event with the purpose of collecting food items to stock the Queens College food pantry. The event was organized by NYPIRG coordinator Candice Jaimungal and Stavros Anastasiov, one of the leaders of the Hunger and Homelessness project at NYPIRG.
The purpose of the event, as Anastasiov said, was to “Shine a light on student hunger and homelessness, giving students the power to fight it through their talents and abilities.” There were 12 student performances, that included dance, guitar and flute numbers, stand-up comedy routines, acoustic and acapella singers and a special performance of the QC iTones. Approximately, 80 students attended the event and NYPIRG received a generous amount of donations, collecting a total of 557 food items that will go to the pantry that will start operating the next semester. “The importance of having an open food pantry here at the school is to help those students that do not have the ability to sustain themselves because sometimes they lack the resources to do so(…) The nice thing about this pantry is that students will not be judged, it’s a no-questions asked, no eligibility needed, you can simply come and take what you need,” Jaimungal said.
The pantry will be located at NYPIRG office which is located in the basement of Student Union, room LL36. Solidarity events of this kind bring attention to often unheard issues that Queens College students face on a daily basis. NYPIRG conducted research on Hunger on Campus and results “revealed in a New York Times op-ed (…) that one in five students surveyed had the very lowest levels of food security. Thirteen percent were homeless,” as said by NYPIRG Project director Candice Jaimungal. That is why it is extremely relevant to maintain these food pantries as part of every single community. NYPIRG is a non-partisan, non-profit, research and public education organization, led by students all over the state of New York that encourages communities to take action on issues like hunger and homelessness, higher education affordability, clean air and energy, mass transit, consumer protection and voter mobilization.
Donations for the food pantry are always welcomed and NYPIRG weekly meetings are held Wednesdays during free hour for more information on how to become part of their community projects.