Food Insecurity

Columbia Dining is committed to supporting University and student efforts to address hunger amongst its student community and the stigma associated with food insecurity.

Emergency Meal Fund 

Columbia Dining sponsors the Emergency Meal Fund, a program offering a select number of meals per term to undergraduate students (CC, SEAS, or GS) in urgent need. The program is limited and intended only for those facing immediate need in an emergency, but is not a long-term solution to food insecurity. For that reason, a conversation with your school’s financial aid or student affairs staff is the recommended first step: 

  • Undergraduate CC and SEAS students should contact [email protected] to schedule a meeting with a staff member in 601 Lerner Hall to request assistance.   

  • General Studies students should contact [email protected] to schedule a meeting with a staff member in 403 Lewisohn Hall to request assistance.  

Emergency Meal Fund usage is intended for:

  • Undergraduate students enrolled in CC, SEAS, or GS
  • Students on a dining plan who have exhausted meal swipes, Dining Dollars, and their Flex balance
  • Students who are facing an unexpected financial delay and cannot afford meals or groceries in the next 24-48 hours
  • Have not previously requested meals in the current semester

Emergency meal tickets can be used during the current term at these locations:

  • John Jay
  • JJ’s Place
  • Ferris Booth Commons
  • Faculty House
  • Chef Mike's Sub Shop
  • Chef Don’s Pizza Pi
  • Grace Dodge at Teachers College

How to use meal tickets:

  • Ticket holders should present one ticket to the Columbia Dining cashier when they arrive.
  • Emergency meal tickets cannot be used at Columbia Dining special events or outside of the regular dining plan service calendar.
  • Tickets are intended for use by the recipient only. If you have a peer who needs support, please refer them to the contact for their school listed above.

Food Pantry 

Columbia Dining provides financial and buying support to the Columbia Food Pantry, a student-run operation in Lerner Hall dedicated to relieving hunger in the student community. 

In May 2019, Columbia Dining committed to an annual $5,000 donation – the equivalent of 1,000 uneaten meals – to the Food Pantry in support of the organization’s collaboration with Swipe Out Hunger. In addition, Columbia Dining donated $1 for every response we received to our annual Customer Satisfaction Survey, donating more than $600 to the Food Pantry in 2022.

Columbia Dining also collaborates with The Food Pantry on nutrition education and budget friendly cooking events.

Academic Break Schedule 

Columbia Dining operates during fall, Thanksgiving, spring and winter breaks to make sure students staying on campus have an affordable place to eat.