Daniela Tovar-Miranda

The Student Nutrition and Dietetics Association (SNDA) and DU Feeds launched the first DU Feeds Market of the semester on Wednesday Feb. 3rd from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Parmer Atrium, and will continue to do so every two weeks until April 14 in order to combat food insecurity across Dominican.

The next DU Feeds Market is on Wednesday, Feb. 17 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Started in Fall of 2019, DU Feeds Market is an event that aims to provide a food source for any Dominican University students, staff and faculty that face food insecurity, to heighten awareness of food insecurity on college campuses, and to educate visitors on nutrition and meal ideas.

Ashley Wendle, President of SNDA and in charge of DU Feeds says, “This year with COVID we are not able to do a shoppable market, so we have been doing prepackaged bags.”

Food that is usually packed consists of healthy non-perishables, such as canned beans, rice, peanut butter, and snacks like granola bars. At every event different foods are used and recipes that use the provided ingredients are included so students do not need to go out and buy additional ingredients.

“They’ll usually provide recipes with the goods that they provide, they provide recipes that you could basically create with everything that was in that bag so you didn’t really need to go out and get anything else, which I thought was pretty cool,” says Gabrielle Green, Vice President of SNDA.

In order to promote a judgment free zone, the Market does not have a sign in sheet or keep track of those who pick up food. It is a simple in and out process where the individual can walk in, grab a bag, and walk out. If there are any dietary concerns, such as allergies, there are people available to help.

DU Feeds even hosted a Thanksgiving Market during the fall semester where around 40 bags were picked up which contained a variety of festive themed foods, such as mashed potatoes, stuffing mix, seasoning, corn and more.

Apart from the Market, DU Feeds has a Share A Meal program which provides DU Dollars to students that need meals. In the previous year, resident students are able to donate unused meal swipes, but now DU Dollars are able to be donated since meal plans have changed at Dominican.

In order for students to either donate their DU Meal Plan Dollars or request dining dollars, they are able to go onto EngageDU and submit a form. Students can donate up to $50 DU Dollars per semester, while students who are requesting meals can also receive information about other campus and community resources regarding food insecurity.

Last school year, DU Feeds donated a total of 463 meals to students, however the program was cut short after students were sent home early due to the coronavirus. These programs are all designed to combat food insecurity. Norah Collins Pienta, the Dean of Students says, “Residents can donate early to be able to get them to commuter students and resident students who had exhausted their meal plans who still needed support.”

The SNDA also provides opportunities for nutrition students to develop a variety of skills through organizations including DU Feeds, Sports Nutrition, Fundraising and Publicity. In addition to this, students are able to build connections by attending the SNDA Speaker Series, where registered dieticians speak to nutrition students up to four times a semester.

Grace Lee, Treasurer of SNDA and recent creator of Epic Eats was able to get her own ideas to grow with the help of the SNDA. Recently approved, she was able to create Epics Eats, where students are able to make and donate meals to La Casa Norte, a non-profit organization that helps youth and families facing homelessness.

“I was really wanting to get involved with DU Feeds because you don’t realize how much food insecurity there is on campus so it’s been really great to help those students that need actual help so it has been a really rewarding experience,” says Lee.

For more information, follow DU Feeds on Instagram @DU.Feeds. In order to get involved with SNDA, you can reach out at [email protected].

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