Princeton University establishes Summer Food and Nutrition Program to address pandemic-related food insecurity in Mercer County

Wednesday, Jun 24, 2020

By Jamie Saxon, Office of Communications

To address food insecurity in local communities this summer due to the pandemic, Princeton University’s Campus DiningOffice of Community and Regional Affairs and John H. Pace, Jr. ’39 Center for Civic Engagement have established the Summer Food and Nutrition Program. The initiative will include collaborations with the Princeton Public Schools and three area nonprofits to provide meals for at-risk families, children and individuals.

The Summer Food and Nutrition Program will run for six weeks from July 7 through Aug. 16. The program will offer continuity of employment, including health benefits, to Campus Dining employees who normally work for nine months a year. This team will procure, prepare and package approximately 9,500 meals a week to be distributed to an estimated 1,800-2,000 people in surrounding communities.

The University has longstanding relationships with the partner organizations: Princeton Public SchoolsHomeFront, the Rescue Mission of Trenton and Meals on Wheels of Mercer County. The community reach of these nonprofits includes children, families, veterans, homeless individuals and families, people living in shelter, living alone, and living at and below the poverty line. The geographic reach spans Mercer County — including Princeton, the Route 1 corridor closest to Princeton, Trenton, Lawrence, East Windsor, West Windsor and Hightstown.

“The food we prepare will be serving toddlers at HomeFront to seniors in their 90s through Meals on Wheels,” said Smitha Haneef, assistant vice president of Campus Dining, University Services. “This is a highly diverse population in and around Princeton. As I have spoken to each community organization, it has been an extremely humbling experience that we are going to partner with them to serve people in need in the area with healthy, nutritious, freshly prepared meals. I also want to acknowledge the generosity of the University to launch this program.”

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