SMPA professor establishes endowment for student-run food pantry

Media Credit: Hatchet File Photo

MPA professor Steven Roberts established the Roberts and Segal Fund for Food Insecurity with former student Ted Segal and his wife Meredith Segal, securing $200,000 for The Store.

A School of Media and Public Affairs professor has created an endowment for GW’s student-run food pantry, according to a University release published Wednesday.

Steven Roberts, who serves on The Hatchet’s Board of Directors, established the Roberts and Segal Fund for Food Insecurity with former student Ted Segal and his wife Meredith Segal securing $200,000 for The Store, according to the release. Roberts said in the release that creating the Dorothy and Will Roberts Prize for SMPA students and his passion for solving student food insecurity inspired him to create the endowment.

“We always felt that hunger and nutrition was one of the best ways that you could tangibly intervene and make people’s lives better,” he said. “I’ve been very blessed and fortunate in my life, and I have resources that I want to use to help student life at GW.”

Roberts recently accompanied Store leaders to Capital Area Food Bank to stock up on items like macaroni and cheese, vegetables and granola bars, according to the release. He said he hopes the fund will provide resources to students dealing with “unexpected hardships.”

“These kids have no elasticity,” Roberts said. “If one thing goes wrong, they’re plunged into crisis. We have to do a better job of not only identifying those kids when they’re in crisis but also then having a mechanism that can quickly help them.”

SMPA director Frank Sesno said in the release that Roberts and his late wife, renowned journalist Cokie Roberts, exemplify the essence of caring for one’s community.

“Their efforts, along with Ted and Meredith Segal, will impact the students not only today but for years to come in helping them grow and succeed in their future,” Sesno said in the release.

The Store added toiletries to its stock at the end of last month and designated a shelf to gluten-free items last academic year.

Store President and first-year graduate student Kathryn Howell said in the release that the endowment will help expand the types of food, like meat and dairy products, The Store can offer.

“The more money we have, the better we can serve the people that are using the store,” Howell said. “I think that this is going to be an amazing thing for us.”

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