FAU program aims to help students struggling with food insecurity and COVID-19

The Beyond Food Program at FAU works to combat food insecurity and hunger for on-campus students amid COVID-19.


The Beyond Food Program has a bank of food for students to take from in the library. Photo by Colby Guy.

Darlene Antoine, Features Editor

While jokes about 10 cent ramen and microwaved macaroni have circulated around foolish tales of the college experience, the struggle to get a sufficient meal remains a significant problem around the world, and even here at Florida Atlantic University. 

The Beyond Food Program (BFP) at FAU aims to challenge food insecurity and help supply food to students on-campus amid COVID-19.
Samieca Morgan, Assistant Dean of Students, and Karen Murray, Director of Owls Care Health Promotion, believe that the most significant part of the BFP is not simply the FAU community working together to create a safe space, but also the increasing awareness of the important issue of food insecurity on the college campus.

Murray explained further, adding that the most important part of the program to her was, “People working together to create a community of care, maximizing university and community resources, and raising awareness about college student food insecurity and staff. Hopefully, some of the stigma(s) about asking for help is being pushed aside.”

Students need this help, as forty-seven percent of FAU students report experiencing some degree of food insecurity (2020 FAU National College Health Assessment). In response to COVID-19, the BFP has taken initiative to make sure FAU students are being supplied with food in a safe and socially distanced manner. 

“We recommend that students select items from the pantry using a google form. Students are required to schedule a pick-up date and time. When the student retrieves the items from The Dean of Students Office, they must wear a mask while entering the premises. Items from the pantry are delivered to students in quarantine.” Morgan said.

Established in 2016, the BFP program supplies students with emergency food for up to four days. The program also includes services such as referrals for safe/secure housing, mentoring, assistance to affordable healthcare, financial wellness literacy; and FAFSA and SNAP submission assistance.  The BFP program is affiliated with partnerships with on-campus food vendor, Chartwells, as well as external partners including Ruth & Norman Rales Food Assistance Program and The Food Bank of Palm Beach County. 

“I’m happy that we have the pantry as a resource for students in need and that we provide not only food and toiletries but also referrals to community agencies,” Morgan said.

The BFP has a team within the Division of Student Affairs of ten staff members and interns at FAU that provides in-house services such as case management, nutrition counseling and education, financial wellness programs/interventions, and volunteer coordination.

The BFP program aims to build its capacity to design a sustainable network. Morgan and Murray hope to start rolling more initiatives out in the Fall of 2021. 

“We will be looking at other SUS food pantry models and determining what is next for the FAU BFP at FAU. We have several community food pantries and food banks that have offered to work with us to expand our education and food accessibility efforts,” Murray said.

How to sign up for the Beyond Food Program? 

The Beyond Food Program operates based on a system of referrals from FAU faculty, staff, and fellow students who have identified students with temporary food assistance needs. To refer a student, please select the “Refer” option on this page and a member of the BFP will be in contact with them soon.  

If you are a student seeking assistance for yourself, please select the “Request Assistance” option. Once the request is processed (usually within two business days) you will be contacted to schedule a time to meet with a member of the Beyond Food Program team. Fulfillment of an emergency food pack is based on the availability of food items at the time of assistance.

Darlene Antoine is a Features Editor for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected].