Bunker Hill Community College’s DISH Food Pantry Opens New Automated Lockers on Chelsea Campus
Tuesday, May 2, 2023
Dish & Dash Refrigerated Lockers on Chelsea Campus Expands First in the Country Service
Bunker Hill Community College’s (BHCC) DISH Food Pantry celebrated the opening of a new location on the College’s Chelsea campus on Thursday with a ribbon cutting ceremony for the pantry’s new automated and refrigerated lockers.
The lockers, made by Quadient, are an expansion of the College’s existing DISH services on the Charlestown campus which opened last year, and are the first such lockers to be used by a college food pantry in the country.
“Ever since the DISH was founded in 2019, we have wanted to expand our services to Chelsea,” said DISH Coordinator Molly Hanson. “Before these lockers, students had to travel to Charlestown either by car or by shuttle to access the food pantry—and that was a hardship. Now, with these lockers, we are able to bring the DISH to them here in Chelsea.”
The lockers are both automated and refrigerated, so DISH users can pick up food or other supplies such as diapers, baby food, or sanitary supplies, at any time the building is open, and can browse, order, and pick up their food or supplies using the SmartChoice app on their phone or through the internet. According to locker manufacturer Quadient, BHCC is the first college in the nation to use the lockers in a food pantry application.
The purchase and installation of the lockers was paid for in part by a $174,074 grant from American Rescue Plan (Massachusetts Community College Campus Hunger Program Focus), secured on behalf of the College by Senator Ed Markey. Funding for the Dish and Dash program also comes from SNAP awareness for extended evening hours and from the BHCC Student Government Association.
“Our students are incredibly busy. They work demanding jobs and, many times, are only available after business hours or on the weekend,” said Hansen. “We wanted to come up with a way for students to access their food pantry orders within a time schedule that worked for them and for the staff at Bunker Hill.”
The DISH, which stands for Delivering Information, Sustenance and Health, was founded in 2019. In 2022, the pantry distributed more than 55,000 pounds of food to the BHCC community—including more than 1,600 Dish & Dash locker pickups on the Charlestown Campus. The DISH is supplied by donations from several sources, including the Greater Boston Food Bank, Food for Free Produce, Stop & Shop, and community donations. To learn more about the DISH visit bhcc.edu/dishfoodpantry.