Temple Meal Plan Changes Leave Students Food Insecure

Changes to meal accessibility on campus put some students in a compromising position when trying to fulfill their basic needs

Temple University’s recent amendments to its meal plan have impacted the campus as students and other university affiliates argue that the changes make food less accessible.

Beginning this academic year, Temple University has closed down Morgan Dining Hall, one of the two all-you-can-eat options on campus, leaving only Esposito Dining Center to accommodate the student body. More recently, Temple quietly limited the peer-to-peer sharing of meal swipes, the only notice being a sign at the cafeteria entry.

Students on Temple’s Campus voiced their frustrations regarding Temple Culinary Services’ recent decisions. Kyle Sumner said he was unsure of the fairness of the policy. Fatima, a freshman political science major, argued that limiting who a student can swipe into the dining hall is “a lack of accessibility;” Amia Weekes noted “everything takes long on campus. I feel like we need another dining hall.”

The Hope Center, an action-research organization interested in surveying college students’ access to their bare necessities, concluded that nearly three in five undergraduate students do not have access to their basic needs—food insecurity is a significant contributor to that statistic. 

Joshua Rudolph, an employee of The Hope Center, paralleled the feelings of university students, saying, “I don’t see the benefits of preventing people from bringing their friends in to get some food if they’re hungry.” When traditional methods prove ineffective, Rudolph turns his praise toward the community, “Temple is full of great people doing great things, and thankfully, we have folks like the Cherry Pantry.”

So, who are the Owls Feeding the Nest? 

Temple’s Cherry Pantry is an on-campus food bank that provides students with weekly access to food and hygiene projects. Dozens of volunteers contribute to the organization’s success, helping an average of more than three hundred students weekly. Ella Hyde, a Cherry Pantry Volunteer, encourages students to get involved, advocating that “being a part of the Cherry Pantry really allows you to work with the community you have.”

Annette Ditolvo, the Senior Program Manager of Basic Needs Support at Temple University, is one of the driving forces behind the Cherry Pantry. For her, the organization’s growth and the pantry’s ability to help more students in need are some of the most exciting parts of her work. Ditolvo pointed to the “11,000 pounds of produce” distributed to Temple students and the addition of a “free menstrual product vending machine” as some of those successes.

“Our mission and our vision all centers around the idea that student success should not be undermined by basic needs and security,” Ditolvo said resolutely. “if you’re a student who’s struggling or a student who’s looking to get involved, we always encourage you to reach out.”

If you are a student looking for assistance in meeting your basic needs, check out these additional resources powered by the Temple community: Swipe Out Hunger TU, Temple Thrift, and Student Financial Services list of Basic Needs Resources.

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