Excelsior University kicks off Snacks for Students collection drive
ALBANY, N.Y. — Excelsior University’s community engagement group is partnering with Albany High School and Troy High School for the second annual Snacks for Students collection drive. The initiative fights food insecurity in the classroom by collecting and donating healthy snacks to students each month of the 2023-24 school year. With the support of the Excelsior community and generous donations from Hannaford Distribution Center and Stewart’s Shops, the community engagement group made the first Snacks for Students drop-off of 1,120 items to the two schools on Sept. 27.
In its inaugural year, Excelsior University’s Snacks for Students program supplied five monthly deliveries to Albany and Troy High Schools, benefiting 32 classrooms at Albany High alone. Driven by donations from Excelsior staff and faculty, Snacks for Students provides teachers with a variety of healthful items like granola bars, bottled water and fruit snacks to distribute as needed to help students focus on education instead of hunger.
“As a University committed to preparing a diverse, authentic, and engaged next generation of higher ed students and leaders, we are thrilled to participate in this exciting effort,” said Daniel Pascoe Aguilar, founding director of the Center for Social Justice and chief diversity officer of Excelsior University. “Snacks for Students is a wonderful application of our strategic plan goal of becoming a multicultural organization that strives for inclusivity, leverages the diversity of our community, and makes an impact at Excelsior and in our broader community. Thank you to Albany and Troy High Schools for their partnership and to the Excelsior community engagement group for leading this program.”
Food insecurity is defined by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) as a lack of consistent access to enough food for every person in a household to live an active, healthy life. According to the USDA, nearly 34 million Americans, including 5 million children, lived in food insecure households in 2021. A survey conducted by nonprofit organization No Kid Hungry demonstrates that students struggling with food insecurity face significant barriers to academic success.
“Many teachers try to help ease hunger by making snacks accessible in their classrooms, but they are often unable to meet the demand themselves. That’s where Snacks for Students comes in,” said Zachary Patterson, chair of the community engagement group at Excelsior University. “We’re proud of the outpouring of donations from the Excelsior community and the incredible response from educators and students. We look forward to growing this initiative to serve more classrooms this year.”
Those interested in supporting the program may send donations directly to Excelsior for distribution via an Amazon Wishlist. Items can be set up using the “subscribe and save” feature for easy monthly contributions that are shipped directly to Excelsior’s mailroom. Snacks for Students deliveries will be made through June 2024.
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ABOUT EXCELSIOR UNIVERSITY
Excelsior University is an accredited, not-for-profit online institution focused on helping adults complete their degrees and advance their careers. Excelsior contributes to the development of a diverse, educated, and career-ready society by valuing lifelong learning with an emphasis on serving individuals historically underrepresented in higher education. Founded in 1971, Excelsior meets students where they are — academically and geographically — removing obstacles to the educational goals of adults pursuing continuing education and degree completion. Our pillars include innovation, flexibility, academic excellence, and integrity.