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Community Resource Room

Community Resource Room 2022 Pilot!

The REEF Support Center within the Division of Student Affairs is taking steps to establish the Community Resource Room (CRR), the first dedicated space on campus to provide basic need items to all Simmons students. This effort is due to the vision and partnership of current students, staff, and faculty, as well as our many community members whose advocacy carried us to this point. By establishing the CRR, we hope to alleviate barriers to accessing food, celebrate community through food, and support students in fully participating in campus life.

Food sustains us, keeps us whole, heals us, and connects us. Thank you for supporting the CRR by placing an order, reading this webpage, and sharing this resource with your circles.

What is the Community Resource Room (CRR) at Simmons?

Opening in the Fall of 2022, The Community Resource Room is a community-centered resource within the REEF Support Center (A-075 C) that strives to provide accessible and sustainable food/household products for free distribution. Much like a food pantry, students can access the following general items at no cost:

  • Nonperishable food items (grains, pasta, nut butter, tomato sauce, canned green beans, beans, tuna, mac and cheese, etc.)
  • Snack items (goldfish, fruit snacks, apple sauce, fruit cups, granola bars)
  • School supplies (notebooks, folders, pens, notecards)
  • Period products (pads and tampons)
  • Hygiene products (toothpaste, floss, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant)

A full list of what is available can be found by accessing our CRR Online Order Form. For the purpose of our pilot year, the CRR will offer shelf-stable items, with hopes of expanding to fresh foods and other resources in the future.

How can I get started?

  1. Complete the yearly Community Resource Room Registration Form
  2. Place your first order by using the CRR Online Order Form. Students may place one order per month. Students are eligible for their next order on/after the 1st of each month.
  3. Pick up your order via contactless pick up at Main College Building A-075 across from the Simmons University Bookstore
    1. Orders placed before 1:00 pm Monday-Friday will be available for same-day pick up from 2:00 pm-6:00 pm. Closed weekends and holidays.
    2. Orders placed after 1:00 pm Monday-Friday will be available for pick up on the next regular business day from 2:00 pm-6:00 pm. Closed weekends and holidays.

Community Resource Room FAQ

Who can access the CRR?

Short answer: The CRR is for anyone who eats!

Long answer: The Community Resource Room can be accessed by on-campus undergraduate and graduate students through our CRR Online Order Form. This includes international students, as well as both residential and commuter students. We hope to expand this resource to our greater Simmons community over time.

Utilizing the Community Resource Room will not impact your access to other supports on/off-campus, or impact your immigration status.

What are the CRR hours?

Contactless pick-up is open Monday-Friday 2-6 pm.

Why are students limited to 1 order per month?

When we adopt an automatic tracking and online order method, we hope to provide an opportunity for students to access the CRR multiple times per month. At this time and for the purpose of manually tracking the items included in each student’s order, students are eligible to place one order per month.

Why do I need to fill out two forms to access the CRR?

Each student is required to complete the CRR Registration Form each year so that we may accurately meet the needs/wants of our community, as well as assess where additional support can be implemented. The demographics collected in this form will be kept private from fellow students/departments and will be reported only in aggregate (group) form for reporting and advocacy purposes. You will never be identified individually. The information shared will not impact your eligibility to utilize the Community Resource Room or impact your access to other supports on/off-campus. Collecting the data will aid us in telling a powerful story about our community and further emphasize the importance of sustaining the Community Resource Room.

The CRR Online Order Form is the form students use to place their orders with us on a monthly basis. Once you complete the CRR Registration Form, you can immediately place your first CRR order by using our online form.

How many CRR items is each student eligible for per month?

To assure that the CRR is as equitable and sustainable as possible, we will be utilizing a point system to determine how many CRR items students can access each month. Our point system is a tool borrowed from our friends at Bunker Hill Community College’s DISH Food Pantry.

Each student is eligible for 30 points worth of CRR items per month. Students will place their orders 1x per month so that we can monitor how much supplies are available. Each food item will have a designated # of points listed on our order form. The point value will be determined by how often the item is requested and not the nutritional value or unit price of the item. The point system is not connected to the point system that you may utilize in Simmons dining halls. For example:

  • 1 jar of jelly= 1 point
  • Bag of chips = .5 points
  • Items such as laundry detergent may be limited to 1 per order to assure that we have a selection for all students.

When will my items be ready and where should I pick them up?

At this time, we offer contactless pickup. Once you have placed your CRR Online Order form, your items will be available for pick up within 1 business day. You will receive an email notification when your order is ready.

*No ID or proof is needed to pick up your orders. This is an intentional part of making services as accessible as possible!

What if I need to access food immediately and can not wait 24 hours or what if I have already picked up my order for the month?

The REEF Support Center/ Commuter Lounge/Dix Scholar lounge space is typically stocked with some snack options each week that can be utilized without making an order through the CRR. These snacks are replenished as regularly as we can and we invite you to check there first. The lounge space also has a fridge where community members will often donate items for fellow students.

If you have already made an order for the month and you are in need of additional food, please contact [email protected] to get connected to additional food supports, including those through the City of Boston. You can also visit the REEF Support Center Food Access website.

How will items be bagged?

All items will be packaged in Simmons University branded refrigerated lunch boxes. We ask that you bring back your lunch boxes each week so that we can re-use them!

We will also offer 4 cart rentals for those who need support transporting items from campus to their home. You can check a cart out when you fill out your CRR Online Order Form. Carts must be returned within 72 hours.

How were the items offered in the CRR selected?

Our 294 community survey responses and two “Food and Feedback Sessions” helped inform what our Community Resource Room would look like! This is also why our Community Resource Committee comprises students, faculty, and staff. Our Student Committee is a volunteer committee that meets monthly to provide feedback, brainstorm ideas, and critically think about what accessible food access at Simmons looks like.

You can review the presentation of our survey findings by accessing the “Food and Feedback Session Presentation“. The feedback and data we collected have directly determined the items we offer.

Will the items offered in the CRR change?

We have 15-25 staple items that will be provided in the CRR throughout the academic year or until we have run out of supply. As our supply of items is limited, we will partner with the Simmons and the broader Boston community to assure items are in supply.

We also acknowledge that large food corporations are often not ethical food suppliers, while they may offer the greatest supply of food while on a budget. We hope to incorporate local brands, BIPOC+ owned brands, and Queer-owned brands whenever we can.

How can I get involved?

Thanks for asking!

Community Resource Room Amazon Wish List:

  • We are always looking for donations. You can donate items from our Amazon Wish-List or schedule to drop them off in person by emailing [email protected]. Our wishlist is determined by what items are most in demand, the advice of our student committee, as well as the students who utilize the CRR.

Volunteer with your club, organization, or department! You could:

  • Assemble and donate care packages for occasions like Back to School, Finals, or Heritage Months
  • Create general cards to include in CRR orders for occasions such as finals. We ask that card wording and contents be reviewed by Community Resource Room Committee.
  • Sponsor/design a recipe or cooking tips to include in CRR orders
  • Advertise your event or resource by sharing your flyers or department SWAG
  • Oversee an item/food drive for the CRR (this is a great opportunity to help us source locally owned, BIPOC-owned, and LGBTQ+-owned brands)
  • Have a dentist appointment? Drop off your new toothpaste, toothbrush, and floss to share with a community member and help us stay stocked
  • Have unused office supplies? Donate items for our students to access for school.
  • Share information about the CRR with your friends through social media, word of mouth, or by placing an order together!
  • Add the CRR to your meeting agenda or email [email protected] to invite one of our “Food Advocates” to present about this resource

Bagging Volunteer in the CRR:

  • At this time, we are not accepting individual volunteers at the CRR. Once we get into the groove, we can’t wait to invite community members to volunteer with us by bagging orders. For right now, we are waiting until we figure out all of the operational logistics. Stay tuned and we appreciate your patience!

Please contact [email protected] to coordinate a volunteer opportunity!

Who is the Community Resource Room Committee?

  • Matoaka Kipp, REEF Support Center
  • EriKa Monfort, Multicultural Center
  • Stephen Pusateri, Military & Veteran Services
  • Ela Kijowska, Center for Global Education
  • Julia Barron, Simmons Hillel
  • Val Leiter, Interim Dean, College of Social Sciences, Policy, and Practice
  • Brooke Bernard, Residence Life

Who is the Community Resource Room Student Committee?

  • Committee Chair: Abi Bloom, Student, Simmons Hillel
  • Committee Chair: Kadijah McClean, Student, SGA Chair
  • Gabby Bello
  • Abigayle Post
  • Jada Cameron
  • Zhuoqi Shi
  • Fay Qian
  • Justin Tran
  • Tessa Federico-Maietta

How do the CRR Committees support the CRR?

Both CRR Committees are made up of students, staff, and faculty who are passionate about food access. Our team meets 2x per semester as a collective group. The Student Committee meets 1x per month. We use this time to incorporate feedback, identify what is working well, where we can grow, and how we can continue to engage our community in food access work.