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.
“Students can’t sit in a class and do well if they’re hungry,” said Dr. Benita Rashaw, Associate Vice President of Student Affairs. “As a college, it’s imperative that we provide more than academic support. We need to be thoughtful of providing what I call ‘when life happens’ support. Doing so adds to the overall success of our students, and that’s our highest priority.”
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,’” Dr. 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.
If interested in supporting this initiative at FCC, you can do so by donating through the FCC Foundation website
and choosing the “Student Hunger at FCC Fund” designation.