Reed’s Food Security Initiative Sustains Those in Need

Student Intern Roslyn Tovar stocking the Reed Community Pantry

Hungry students are found on every campus, but some students suffer from a different kind of hunger: food insecurity, or regularly not knowing where their next meal will come from.

A few years ago, Bon Appétit’s general manager at Reed College, Debby Bridges, began working with constituencies across the Reed community including staff, faculty, and students to address food insecurity at the Portland, OR, campus.

SEEDS Program Manager Tara Sonali-Miller, Executive Chef Matt Talavera, General Manager Deb Bridges, Sous Chef Kris Vetter, and Executive Sous Chef Jesse Fairman

The Food Security Initiative was born, with a new food pantry its first order of business. The Bon Appétit team provided facilities and instruction for setting up the pantry, has assisted with the packaging and repackaging of food, and most importantly, has coordinated bulk product ordering, using board-donated dollars, to stock the pantry. Last spring Deb worked with Program Manager Tara Sonali-Miller of SEEDS (Students for Education, Empowerment, and Direct Service) to identify the items most in need that would store well in the pantry. The pantry opened for the summer, servicing Reed community members who experience food insecurity.

Just before winter break, Tara gave Deb and her team a plaque in recognition of the role they played in getting the pantry up and running, officially thanking them “for their time, compassion, and integral contributions to the Reed Community Pantry and Food Security Initiative.”

The Bon Appétit team continues to work with the Food Security Initiative to figure out new ways to partner with the Reed Community Pantry. Overall, the collaborative effort to address food insecurity in general has produced amazing results.

Submitted by Debby Bridges, General Manager