EOP receives food grant for first time in over a decade

Patrick Koster , News Editor

SUNY Buffalo State’s Arthur O. Eve Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) received a Summer Food Service Program Grant (SFSP) this summer for up to $30,000 for the class of 2019.

The federal grant reimburses Buffalo State for providing healthy food services at no charge during the summer to students 18 years old or under in low-income areas.

According to EOP Senior Academic Advisor Jude Jayatilleke, this was the first time in 12 years that Buffalo State had applied for the grant. He said the award received for the Summer Food Service Program Grant, formerly known as the USDA Grant, was about $2,000 back in 2003.

“This grant was advertised and the EOP program participated a long time ago with the grant, but they hadn’t participated in years,” Jayatilleke said. “So this year, we were able to secure it.”

EOP Director Yanick Jenkins said the SFSP grant was supplement to another grant that Buffalo State already received. Years ago, the amount of money for the SFSP wasn’t really worth the amount of work it took in order to receive the grant.

But after finding out Buffalo State could receive a significantly greater award amount, Jayatilleke and EOP staff member Kimberly Borowski began to work toward receiving the grant. Jayatilleke and Borowski spearheaded the entire process, Jenkins said.

By receiving the grant, Jenkins said Buffalo State is able to spend more money toward textbooks for students and paying professors.

“If we can receive more money toward funding food and anything related to food service, then that means, from our other grant, we can receive more money that would supplement academic service,” Jenkins said.

“Typically, we spend almost $100,000 during the time of our summer program, so this is almost one third of our cost,” Jayatilleke said. “So by securing the grant, you know, it’s more affordable to run this type of program.”

Jenkins said during the summer program, student assistants, who are similar to resident assistants, were in charge of monitoring food. The student assistants would monitor food three times a day, seven days per week over the course of three weeks.

“Students who were student assistants and one particular person who led the process, she, whenever they [the students] came in, had to monitor whatever was on their trays to make sure it passed guidelines because the USDA would make surprise visits,” Jenkins said.

Jayatilleke said EOP hopes to continue the grant every year.

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