BRAIN FOOD: Community college expands on-campus food pantry
Eastern Maine Community College has expanded their on-campus food pantry to help students dealing with food insecurity.
“Just being able to grab a bag of pasta and a can of sauce is a huge deal.” says Student Senate President Allegra Kenny.
Brian Welsh is a student navigator at the college. “We saw a lot of research that said that it's real hard to learn when you're hungry. So we decided to do something about it.”
A survey by The Hope Center in April of 2019 of nearly 90,000 students across the US found that nearly half were food insecure.
“There's such a need on the campus. We have so many students who are going hungry.” said Kenny
Two years ago Rick Cali was the Student Senate President at EMCC and got the ball rolling on the project when he heard about a food pantry at UMaine.
“I thought that it was a wonderful idea and I started to ask the question why don't we have that resource on campus here.”
Jordan Potter is a liberal studies student at EMCC and says he thinks the pantry is a great idea. “At first it was just this little inky dinky little section of food and then now it's grown.”
“Here we are today and all of the sudden we have a freezer and a fridge and real shelving and it's just incredible honestly." said Cali. "It's been a group effort.”
The recent additions allow for more variety and more healthy options for students. Students can also find toiletries and other hygiene products available.
“It's really gratifying to make sure that our students have the food that they need to do well here at college.” said Welsh.
“This should hopefully just be the start.”
The hope is that students can focus more on their education and have a little bit less to worry about.