GW Combats Student Hunger With A Food Pantry

By Sophia Wu

These days, college students face immense pressure to succeed in life. But what happens when they are barely able to fulfill basic needs, such as eating? Food insecurity is a pressing issue in D.C., with many struggling to acquire food or facing other food-related limitations. College students are no exception. According to an October 2016 report by Students Against Hunger, 22% of college students face food insecurity.

George Washington University tackles this issue with their recent opening of the Store, a student-run food pantry that is extensively involved with the D.C. community. The goal of the Store is to provide access to food for hungry students free of charge. Students, families, and alumni donate food, as well as Whole Foods, Bread for the City, and Capital Area Food Bank. The Store is also a part of a crop share on campus that provides produce one time each week.

Lydia Johnson is the Store Logistics Manager and current student studying Human Services and Social Justice at GW. She firmly believes that healthy eating is a core part of the Store’s mission. From her experience working at the Store, Johnson says, “We encourage healthy eating for our students by providing as much fresh produce, breads, meats and healthy food options to choose from. When possible, we stay away from chips, sodas, and other snack items associated with poor eating habits.”

When browsing the Store, it is evident that GW cares about healthiness. There is a fridge full of lettuce heads and other fruits and vegetables stocked to the brim. There are also whole wheat pastas, black beans, and vegetable-based soups. Patrick Lersh, a sophomore mechanical engineering major, enjoys the convenience of the Store. “I’m an athlete, and many of us tend to skip meals, so it’s a good way to supplement,” he says. According to Johnson, the Store receives nearly 2,000 pounds of food or more that lasts around two weeks. “From the feedback we have received from students, a majority of everything we have heard has been very positive. They seem to enjoy the variety of options that we have along with the cleanliness and overall accessibility and free-choice options of the space,” Johnson adds.

The Store, District House B121, 2121 H Street NW, Washington, D.C., 20052, Saturday-Sunday, 6am-12pm and 2pm-2am, 202-994-6555 (Center for Student Engagement), cse.assistant@gmail.com, https://students.gwu.edu/store

Is Technology The Future Of Fast Food? One Restaurant Might Have The Answer

By Sophia Wu

Eatsa, a technologically-driven restaurant conveniently located in Farragut Square’s busy K Street corridor, is not your average lunch spot. There are no cashiers. Your meal is presented in a cubby. There’s an air of mystery surrounding the chefs, who choose to remain unseen. You order from one of the many kiosks that line the wall. There are assistants standing by who offer guidance upon request, but otherwise, you make your meal happen with a tap of a finger. The menu features a variety of different culturally-influenced quinoa bowls and salads. You are also able to build your own bowl. Just because Eatsa is fast food doesn’t mean they want to compromise health and nutrition.

Eatsa, 1627 K Street NW, #400, Washington, D.C., 20006, Monday-Friday, 7am-6pm, (844) 478-4662, info@eatsa.com, https://www.eatsa.com/,

Local Food Startup Rethinks Our Approach To Takeout

By Sophia Wu

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Behind the scenes at Galley Foods’ headquarters.

Galley Foods is more than just a food delivery service. You won’t find your typical greasy pizza takeout here. Instead, there’s a selection of specialties ranging from butternut squash tacos to vegan crab cakes. They have one goal in mind: healthy eating, but fast and affordable. All of their meals are prepared fresh and locally sourced. They are delivered within 30 minutes and ready for you to heat up at home. Learn more about the inspiration behind Galley Foods, and more, from co-founder Ian Costello.

Galley Foods, 918 F Street NW, Washington, D.C., 20004, Monday-Friday, 9am-8:30pm, (202)-930-3663, support@galleyfoods.com, https://www.galleyfoods.com/menus/dc, download their app today

4 Must-Have (Free!) Healthy Food Apps

By Sophia Wu

As young professionals, we tend to live busy, fast-paced lives in which it’s hard for us to maintain healthy, affordable eating. We all have our days of lazily ordering GrubHub on a late Wednesday night, but it’s important for us to be more mindful of what we consume despite packed schedules. That’s where food apps come in. Since we’re already on our phones all the time anyway, why don’t we make the most of it?

1. Make My Plate

Make My Plate is an all-in-one app that combines the best of home cooking, grocery shopping, and dining out through customized lists and menus. You are able to personalize a day-to-day meal plan, which includes all 3 meals plus snacks in between, in which the calories, carbs, fat, and protein are all counted. What stands out the most about Make My Plate is the “What you should eat” and “What you should avoid” sections, which is categorized by food type, and educates the user on healthy eating. The “Community” section is a group chat that allows you to ask questions, comment, or make suggestions to a representative from Make My Plate, as well as communicate with other users. The social media aspect really brings together people who share similar goals in wanting to optimize the healthiest meal.

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Van Ness Opens Alternative Grocery Store

By Sophia Wu

Soapstone Market, a boutique grocery store, opened in the Van Ness neighborhood of Washington, D.C. on November 7. Sleek with silvers and blacks, the modern-looking Soapstone offers a niche of local products and independent brands, which differs from the Giant chain supermarket a few blocks away.

Located beneath the Park Van Ness apartments, Soapstone is a relatively residential option for the people of Van Ness; its tagline is “your neighborhood one-stop-for-everything-shop.” Indeed, Soapstone is more than simply a grocery store. There is a coffee counter, drinks bar, deli, fresh seafood mart, wine section, and café seating area. It may be a stop for everything, but that doesn’t mean Soapstone doesn’t welcome their customers to sit and stay for a while.

“Students come here. They probably will come tonight. They stay here drinking, or get a couple of snacks and go back,” says Dayshawn S., a cashier at Soapstone. University of the District of Columbia (UDC) and Howard University School of Law are located in Van Ness, which is often populated with their students. In addition to food, Soapstone sells composition notebooks — placed on the produce table, conveniently located in front of the main entrance.

Hugh D. and Hugh T. are both young working professionals from Vietnam who are lounging in the café; their finished, crumbed plates sit idly on the table. Van Ness, one of the relatively quieter areas of D.C., does not have many areas for individuals to spend time and congregate in, other than chains such as Starbucks, Potbelly’s, and Subway. “Looks like a cool place, looks hippie, and it’s also close to our apartment,” says Hugh D., who points to the apartment complex next door. “I think it’s like a great mix of grocery store and bar. Everything all in one,” Hugh T. adds.

On this lazy Sunday afternoon, Soapstone is packed with a relatively young crowd who are drinking coffee or gazing at pasta sauces. There are no laptops in sight; people are mainly engrossed in conversations with one another. “People are still checking the place out,” says Justin P., a music student at UDC, who also works at Soapstone. “But so far, I think they like it.” He mentions the popularity of the prepped foods section, in which he and fellow students often will grab a meal from if they are on the go to class.

“It’s in between a grocery store and a health foods store,” Justin mentions. He gestures to the produce, which he says is mostly from Maryland. The set up of Soapstone could arguably encourage healthy-eating. The snacks and dessert aisle is minimized compared to the rest of the store. It is located behind the cashier stand and adjacent to the employees-only back room. The produce table is isolated from the rest of the aisles, front-and-center, and the prepped foods section is filled with mostly greens and grains.

Soapstone’s emphasis on health is one of many reasons it appeals to the people of Van Ness. But mostly, it is a versatile environment that caters to anyone who wants to relax for hours over a drink or have the grab-and-go food experience. Combining healthiness, affordability, convenience, and style, it is no surprise many young D.C. residents are flocking to Soapstone.

Soapstone Market, 4465 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 20008, Saturday-Sunday, 7am-10pm, (202) 750-4100, info@soapstonemarket.com, https://www.soapstonemarket.com/