Bunker Hill Community College has installed banks of Quadient smart lockers on both its Charlestown and Chelsea campuses for student use in food pickup. Bunker Hill selected Quadient's Parcel Pending refrigerated lockers to expand the college's existing DISH Food Pantry program that assists students struggling with food insecurity.
According to Quadient, BHCC wanted to provide a flexible, private way for students in need of food assistance to access their food pantry orders. The college decided that a parcel locker solution would solve this need. Following a search, the college opted for three Quadient locker stations to be installed on the Charlestown campus in April 2022. That installation was joined by another locker bank at the Chelsea campus this month.
BHCC is the largest community college in Massachusetts. BHCC officials estimate that more than half of its student population struggles with food insecurity, which prompted the college to launch its DISH food pantry program.
“Our students are incredibly busy. They work demanding jobs and, many times, are only available after business hours or on the weekend,” says Molly Hansen, senior special programs coordinator for Bunker Hill Community College. “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.”
Of the three Parcel Pending smart locker banks at Charlestown, two are refrigerated and provide storage for perishable items like fresh produce and frozen items, while the third bank on that campus is available for dry food items and hygiene products. The lockers serve roughly 50-60 students per week and provide discreet access to essential items and reduce anxiety around food insecurity.
When their orders are ready for pick-up, students receive a text notification and can retrieve their items discreetly and at a time that fits with their schedules.
Prior to the smart lockers, Hansen says that the food pantry would schedule individual orders via multiple communication channels, and the process required pick-ups in person, which proved to be inefficient.
With the smart locker system in place now, food pantry staff are able to coordinate and fulfill orders more efficiently. Quadient’s lockers also feature a back-end cloud-based software that enables staff to check on locker inventory at any time. The lockers are also being used to accept food donation drop-offs.
“In the case of BHCC, we are honored to provide a solution that not only fulfills a critical need, but also brings efficiency to the staff and flexibility and dignity to the students," says Austin Maddox, executive vice president, sales and operations North America, Quadient.
Quadient reports having deployed some 18,000 parcel locker stations worldwide in the multi-family property, retail, higher education, corporate and courier verticals.