Daily News

STCC Awarded $180,000 for Hunger Free Campus Initiative

SPRINGFIELD — Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) received a $180,000 state grant to help students facing food insecurity. The Baker-Polito administration awarded the multi-year Hunger Free Campus Initiative grant award for FY 2023-24.

“We want to thank you for your commitment to increasing access to academic opportunities for students of color and students experiencing food insecurity,” Gov. Charlie Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito stated in a letter to STCC President John Cook. “Your commitment to transform higher-education institutional cultures to center equity-minded support services for students is commendable, particularly as the Commonwealth engages in post-COVID efforts to both retain and prepare our future workforce.”

The Hunger Free Campus Initiative, a grant program funded through the American Rescue Plan Act, is intended to support college students who are experiencing food insecurity to reduce barriers to success.

According to the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education, the need to address hunger and food security has been exacerbated due to the COVID-19 pandemic and increased inflation. The Hunger Free Campus Initiative makes funding available to campuses to increase their capacity to develop or improve upon food-security programming. In October, Cook was among the 15 Massachusetts community-college presidents who urged state legislators to support establishing the initiative into law.

The presidents wrote, “as we move beyond the pandemic, we have a shared commitment to ensure that our students are well-trained and ready to contribute to the workforce after graduation. But with the high cost of living in Massachusetts, including the increasing cost of food, many of our students find themselves without adequate access to food as they try to complete their education. We also know that food insecurity on many of our campuses disproportionately impacts Black, Latinx, and LGBTQ+ students. Our students should not have to choose between food and their textbooks or rent, nor can they learn successfully if their basic needs are not met.”

STCC, the only technical community college in Massachusetts, is a designated Hispanic Serving Institution. About 30% of the student body are Latino, Latina, or Latinx.

“We are thrilled and grateful to receive this grant from the Baker administration,” Cook said. “By directly targeting food insecurity, we are helping our most vulnerable students meet their basic needs, which helps them continue studying at STCC and moving closer to their goal of graduating.”

STCC is committed to supporting students both in and outside of the classroom. Located on the STCC campus, the Center for Access Services (CAS) provides students with a broad range of non-academic supports. CAS is dedicated to helping students overcome non-academic barriers impacting their ability to stay in school, with the goal of increasing self-sufficiency.

“This grant will strengthen our program and enhance our efforts to provide groceries and meals to students facing food insecurity,” said Jose Lopez-Figueroa, director of CAS.

The Center for Access Services offers food assistance to students in need of help as well as other supports to help them overcome challenges, which include but are not limited to financial challenges, homelessness, substance abuse, and access to various state and federal benefits. The center includes the RAM Mini Mart, which is a food pantry offering groceries, personal-hygiene products, and other basic household necessities.

Related Posts

buy ivermectin for humans buy ivermectin online
buy generic cialis buy cialis