With estimates that nearly half of students attending colleges and universities do not have the financial means to afford balanced meals, a new organization, Student LunchBox (SLB), was formed to deliver meals and boarding essentials to low-income college students to reduce the hardships of hunger.
The startup Los Angeles-based Student LunchBox, a 501(c) approved nonprofit charity, is currently seeking grants. “We aim to build a one-of-a-kind organization that specifically serves the low-income college population,” the founder, Karlen Nurijanyan, reported.
“Too often, students are forced to skip meals, take hunger naps, sleep in their cars, or find themselves in a state of virtual poverty and homelessness, all ‘in the name of Higher Education,'” Nurijanyan said. “Recent studies show that nearly half of the college students do not know where their next meal will come from, leading to hunger insecurity which directly impacts student graduation rates. SLB was created for this reason to respond quickly with one of the most critical resources students need: food. Campus hunger has been rooted in our communities for over a decade, and unfortunately, this problem remains unspoken. We believe that college students are the forgotten group when we speak of hunger,” Nurijanyan adds.
Student LunchBox solicits and distributes food and other essentials to low-income college students who otherwise cannot afford balanced meals. The organization currently supports community college food pantries by keeping their shelves full with food and supplies. In the future, SLB will offer a food box program available for pick-up for all students in need and offer its delivery services to all students with disabilities who cannot commute to SLB’s facility. All the services provided to students by SLB are entirely free.
“Our services include weekly food boxes and other essentials including bed and bath supplies, and necessities for students with children, including baby wipes, diapers, and everything else that is fundamental to students’ academic success,” Nurijanyan said.
Initially, Student LunchBox will focus on colleges and universities in Los Angeles before expanding to other cities and states.
“Our approach to fighting campus hunger is simple,” Nurijanyan said. “We build partnerships with local businesses and distributors, community retailers, local food growers, farmer markets, and other partners who donate safe and nutritious foods that otherwise end up in landfills. As a charitable food distributor, our prime responsibility is to support environmental sustainability, help reduce waste and support college students who do not have enough to eat.”
Student LunchBox is currently raising money to secure a cargo van and equipment to begin its operations. “We are diligently working to raise seed money that can help us commence our operations. For now, our main priority is to purchase a cargo van for our full-time solicitation purposes. We are currently in a partnership with a large food distributor that will help us rescue thousands of pounds of food every week. In addition, we are also desperately looking to rent a suitable facility, purchase refrigeration, supplies, partner with local businesses and food banks, and invite volunteers to support our fantastic mission,” Karlen Nurijanyan reports.
For more information about Student LunchBox, including how to make a donation or in-kind contribution, please visit www.studentlunchbox.org