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UMass Chan, Stop & Shop launch food pantries in Worcester schools

Collaborative community partnership aimed at reducing food insecurity

School wraparound coordinator Sheila Bonilla cuts the ribbon at “The Eagle’s Nest,” a new food pantry at City View Discovery elementary school in Worcester. Bonilla is joined by school staff members, student council members, and representatives from UMass Chan Medical School, Stop & Shop, The Juniper Foundation and Consigli Construction.

UMass Chan Medical School and Stop & Shop have partnered to help open and stock food pantries at three Worcester schools to address student hunger.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony at City View Discovery elementary school on Thursday, April 13, celebrated the opening of “The Eagle’s Nest,” a new food pantry accessible to the school’s 430 students. One hundred percent of the City View student population is eligible for free or reduced-price school meals.

“One of the things we love to say at UMass Chan is that we have a uniquely collaborative culture. And this pantry is a perfect example of that collaborative culture with how many different people, organizations, groups and partners have come together to build something that shows our commitment to action, commitment to equity and our commitment to food security,” said Ché Anderson, assistant vice chancellor for city and community relations at UMass Chan.

Through the UMass Chan Cares program, UMass Chan student and staff volunteers cleared out space for the pantry at City View in February. Stop & Shop provided a $12,500 donation to stock the pantry’s shelves with food and personal hygiene products. Community partner Consigli Foundation painted, donated and installed shelving, storage bins and carpeting, and The Juniper Outreach Foundation will help run the pantry, handling food shopping and managing distribution. 

“So many partners have come together to make this happen, and we’ve all invested time, resources, money and food to make sure students in Worcester have access to the food they need to succeed in the classroom,” said Jennifer Brogan, Stop & Shop director of community relations. “This is certainly a labor of love that began with UMass Chan two years ago, and we’re so appreciative that others like Juniper and Consigli have joined us in this effort.”  

Ten fifth and sixth grade student members of City View student council were on hand for the opening of the pantry and the students will help keep the pantry organized.

The partnership between UMass Chan and Stop & Shop started in 2021, stocking the Medical School’s Max Baker Resource Center each month with food and essential supplies from the Stop & Shop store on Grafton Street in Worcester. This year, Stop & Shop donated $12,500 to the Max Baker Resource Center.

Through the Medical School’s North Quadrant Support Services initiative, UMass Chan helped identify three public schools in the city’s North Quadrant, including City View, Worcester East Middle and North High, as food pantry partners with Stop & Shop.

Through the Stop & Shop Food Pantry Program, each school received a $12,500 grant to help keep the existing pantry at North High stocked, and to build out and stock pantries at East Middle and City View.