Dr. Marjorie Allen is involved with many organizations on campus including LGU, a minor students can take in leadership and global understanding, as well as Exploring Nutrition.
Exploring Nutrition was founded four years ago when a group of faculty got together and pulled together resources that the university had. Many of the faculty had projects such as food drives, but they weren’t always coordinated. Exploring Nutrition allowed the University to have an umbrella organization to organize fundraising and it gave the university an identity in the community as caring about the hunger issue.
Exploring Nutrition’s mission is “to create a model by which urban universities can, in partnership with local businesses, community organizations, and religious institutions, utilize collective resources and expertise to have a positive impact on their neighborhood’s health and nutritional well-being.”
La Salle donated land to Fresh Grocer, the local supermarket, so there would be a supermarket that was easily accessible to all people in the community, especially the elderly.
Dr. Allen said that, “Before Fresh Grocer was built, the La Salle community was a food desert. There was essentially no access to supermarkets.” The two closest supermarkets to La Salle, before Fresh Grocer was built, were ShopRite and Pathmark. Both stores were far, considering many families living in the community do not have access to cars.
Dr. Allen also put it into perspective by adding that the elderly members of the community would have to carry their groceries on buses and to their homes as well as young parents having to take their young children with them on buses along with the groceries they bought.
La Salle donated the land to Fresh Grocer because not only was the community in desperate need for it, but it would benefit the students, faculty, and staff to have a closer supermarket.
Exploring Nutrition has not stopped with the opening of a closer supermarket. They have plans that include food mapping, which allows community residents to know where they can get food. They have also proposed an obesity study and treatment program as well as an adolescent cooking program to teach members of the community to cook easy, healthy dinners.
Exploring Nutrition has many more proposed projects that they are hoping to work on, as well as many goals that they have already reached.