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Emory’s Staff Council works to combat food insecurity by ensuring a stocked on-campus fridge
Staff council building sandwiches

Members of Staff Council prepare sandwiches to stock the Emory Community Fridge, located on the first floor of the Alumni Memorial University Center.

Members of the Emory University Staff Council recently convened to pile sandwiches with stacks of turkey, ham and cheese for the Emory Community Fridge, located on the first floor of the Alumni Memorial University Center (AMUC), to provide a meal to anyone on campus in need of food.  

Many Emory units are represented in Staff Council, from dining to campus services to School of Medicine and beyond. This is the first year that Staff Council has supported the efforts of the Community Fridge, electing to use funds originally allocated for a holiday party to purchase supplies to pack sandwiches for the fridge. 

Liz Carlino, assistant director of dining at Emory and secretary-elect of Staff Council, has been stocking and maintaining the Community Fridge since it began serving the Emory community a year ago. Supplying the fridge with leftover to-go food from Emory’s dining partner, Bon Appétit, Carlino knew she could bring even more food with support from Staff Council and its current president, Shervon Lewis, manager of employee development programs. 

“What the Staff Council, and Shervon especially, have graciously taken on as a project this year is expanding the Community Fridge program. The council heard about the program, what we have done and how much more we want to accomplish, and embraced the mission with open arms,” says Carlino. 

Understanding that food insecurity impacts so many people across the Emory community, Lewis was immediately on board when she learned about the initiative. 

sandwiches in fridge

The freshly stocked Community Fridge, full of sandwiches made by Staff Council.

“I am charged to do whatever we can to make people’s lives easier, especially with something as simple as food. Without hesitation, my immediate response was of course, everyone should be able to eat and be comfortable. I think that’s something that we can assist with safely and successfully,” says Lewis.

Not only did the volunteers gather to pack the sandwiches, but many also donated nonperishable items such as rice, soup and canned vegetables for donation to the campus food pantry, located next to the Community Fridge. 

Deena Keeler, director of Auxiliary Services and former Staff Council president, helped bag the turkey and ham sandwiches near the end of the assembly line. Keeler emphasized the importance of making sure food is accessible to multiple populations across campus. 

“There are a lot of food insecure people that either come to Emory as a student or work at Emory,” says Keeler. “I became privy to that when I was the Hardship Fund coordinator. It was reading through those applications where I saw a lot of food insecure people in our community, and initiatives like this meet that need.”

In the future, with continued support from Staff Council and other units across the university, Carlino aims to increase the number of food access points across campus. She not only hopes the program feeds more people in the community but also helps shine a light on the pervasiveness of food insecurity.

“We want to remind our colleagues that we don’t know the situation of the person working next to us,” says Carlino. “While I may have a full fridge at home and dinner set for the week, the person next to me may not.”

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