A new way to combat food insecurity

By Frederick Community College
Frederick Community College has set up a new contactless system to help combat food insecurity among its students.

Beginning this week, students in need of food can access it for free through a locker system on campus.

“Sadly, food insecurity among college students is a critical national issue,” FCC President Annesa Payne Cheek said. “What we know is that in order for students to achieve their personal and career goals, we need to provide them with holistic support services that address their academic and non-academic needs. When our students do not have reliable access to affordable, nutritious food, it impacts their ability to focus, engage, and learn. This new food locker system is just one way that FCC is investing in our students to ensure they have every opportunity to succeed and live the life they choose to lead.”

National studies have shown that many college students are dealing with food insecurity, defined as being unable to consistently access or afford adequate food. A study done by the Temple University Hope Center found that 39% of college students enrolled at a two-year institution in fall 2020 indicated they had experienced food insecurity in the previous 30 days.

While FCC has offered a food pantry for years through its Office of Student Leadership and Engagement, that requires a student to come in during office hours to access the food. The pantry also focuses on quick grab-and-go items like granola bars and fruit cups as well as microwavable items.

The new food lockers will differ in that they provide contactless pick-up, are accessible during evening hours, and offer shelf-stable food meant to be prepared at home such as canned meat and vegetables, pancake mix, peanut butter and jelly, and more.

“We know not all students are comfortable talking to someone and saying, ‘I need food,’” Associate Vice President of Student Affairs Benita Rashaw said. “These lockers make it easier for students to get the food they need at their convenience. We don’t want any students to feel embarrassed if they’re hungry and need food. There is no shame in that, and FCC is here to help in any way we can.”

Each week, FCC will send out a sign-up link for the food lockers through its weekly NewsBlast sent to students. Once signed up, a student will receive their locker number, code, and a deadline for picking up the items.  Eighteen students per week will be able to access the lockers.

This article originally appeared here.

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Frederick Community College

is located in Frederick, Maryland.