The Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD) is excited to announce a $20,000 grant from theKroger Co. Foundation to support food pantry initiatives district-wide. The mission of the Kroger Co. Foundation is “to Feed the Human Spirit” and they focus their support on organizations that work to end hunger, improve food security, and provide balanced meals to families in the most need.
MCCCD will use the $20,000 grant to support existing college food pantries and to create new ones. Currently, eight of the ten Maricopa colleges provide a food pantry for students. Two colleges are in the process of planning and developing their pantries. The grant will allow the Maricopa Community Colleges to purchase food, toiletries, shelves, storage bins, and other resources needed to operate campus food pantries.
According to a2017 Wisconsin HOPE Lab study, which represented more than “33,000 students at 70 community colleges in 24 states,” every two out of three students suffer from food insecurity. All ten Maricopa Community Colleges participated in this study in an effort to gain greater clarity on the depth of food and housing insecurity its students face. The study found that:
Sixty-four percent of MCCCD students reported marginal or worse food security.
MCCCD respondents reported low and very low food security (52 percent) less frequently than other students surveyed in the regional (61 percent) and national (56 percent) survey samples.
MCCCD students faired marginally better than their regional and national counterparts. Nonetheless, with over half of all MCCCD students who were surveyed indicating some level of food insecurity, it is a high priority issue for the district. MCCCD is working diligently to turn the tide among its student population. Having well run food pantries on each campus is critical to the academic success of far too many students. When students’ are able to meet their basic needs, they can focus more energy on completing their coursework and completing their academic programs.
“The success of our students is very important to all of us. Addressing issues of hunger is one more way our colleges support our students,” states Felicia L. Ganther, Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs.