MassBay to tackle student food insecurity issues

MassBay, Wellesley HillsMassBay Community College’s Student Development Office conducted an on-line survey of enrolled students to determine if students had food insecurity and found that more than half (52%) who participated in the survey reported “low” or “very low” food security.

Students were classified as having “low” or “very low” food security if they reported at least two of the following during the past 30 days:

·         Food that was purchased didn’t last and they didn’t have money to purchase more

·         They could not afford to eat balanced meals

·         Students were cutting the size of meals or skipped meals because there wasn’t enough money or food

·         They were eating less because they felt there wasn’t enough money or food

·         Students were hungry, but didn’t eat because there wasn’t enough money or food

To fight hunger on MassBay campuses, the college has spearheaded food insecurity initiatives to ensure members of the MassBay community have access to food while on campus. These initiatives include;

–       A MassBay partnership with The Greater Boston Food Bank to host a monthly mobile food market with free fresh fruits and vegetables. This farmer’s market style food distribution is located on the Wellesley campus, and students on the Ashland and Framingham campuses can pre-register and the food will be brought to those campuses for them. This has benefitted more than 2,648 students, faculty and staff since it came to campus.

–       Snack bins have been placed in Student Development, Athletics, Advising and Financial Aid on the Wellesley Hills campus, offering free, sustainable snack options to all students.

–       The Student Development Office, Student Government Association and the Division of Humanities and Social Sciences held a student essay contest around hunger issues. The two winners of the contest will join Student Development staff in attending the National Convening on College Food and Housing Insecurity Conference in Philadelphia later this month.

MassBay has also started a Student Hunger Assistance Fund, where individuals can make a donation to the MassBay Foundation and their contribution will go directly to helping students have access to food. To make a donation visit; https://donate.massbay.edu/sslpage.aspx?pid=298