Pitt Eats and foodservice provider Chartwells Higher Ed are installing food lockers at Litchfield Towers at the University of Pittsburgh to help relieve food insecurity.
The move will also streamline food distribution on campus.
The temperature-controlled food lockers contain 61 compartments, 25 of which will be dedicated to free meals in partnership with Pitt Pantry. On weekdays, the lockers will be stocked with 25 packaged, reheatable meals in the mid-afternoon, free of charge for students registered with Pitt Pantry. A second delivery will take place on Fridays to cover weekend meals. The food is all prepared at The Eatery on campus.
Of the remaining 36 compartments, 20 are designated for on-campus mobile orders and 16 for grocery deliveries for all students.
“We take great pride in nourishing the minds and bodies of our future leaders, recognizing the significant responsibility that comes with it,” Resident District Manager Steve Schurr said in a statement. “Whether enjoyed in our dining halls or provided as a donation to a student in need, our commitment remains steadfast.”
Recent data reveals that one in three college students experience food insecurity, and in a survey conducted in 2021, Pitt Eats discovered that 18% of its students reported having low or very low levels of food security. The food lockers are a way to alleviate the stigma often associated with food insecurity by providing a discreet and efficient way to access meals.
The food locker initiative is a collaboration between Pitt Eats, Food Recovery Heroes—a student-run organization combating food insecurity and food waste—and various local eateries. Volunteers will help package meals every day, contributing to the reduction of food waste and supporting students in need.
The Litchfield Towers installation is the first step in addressing food insecurity, as Pitt Eats plans to expand the food lockers across campus to reach more students.