FSCJ Hosts Grand Opening of Its First Student Food Pantry

FSCJ Hosts Grand Opening of Its First Student Food Pantry

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Florida State College at Jacksonville (FSCJ) celebrated the grand opening of its first student food pantry on April 13. Students, faculty members and leadership gathered to publically announce the food pantry’s new official name, H.O.P.E. (Helping Out People Every Day) Food Pantry, which was selected through a student-led survey.

Located on FSCJ’s South Campus, F-103, the pantry will serve all students on Tuesdays from noon – 5 p.m., Wednesdays from 10 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. and Thursdays from noon – 5 p.m. Any FSCJ student with a valid FSCJ ID may visit the pantry one time each day of operation and receive up to 5 pounds of food at no cost.

The project began in the summer of 2015 when a working group comprised of faculty and staff began an investigation and decision-making effort to implement a resource that would support FSCJ students facing food insecurity, a known obstacle to student success. During the Fall 2016 Term, FSCJ Student Engagement adopted the committee’s recommendations and developed an operational plan to pilot the program at South Campus after conducting a student survey to gauge need and interest.

A national study of 3,800 community and four-year colleges across 12 states was released in October 2016, finding that 48 percent of those surveyed had experienced food insecurity within the 30 days prior. To read the full report, visit http://studentsagainsthunger.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Hunger_On_Campus.pdf

“Many of our own students are unsure when their next meal will come,” said Director of Student Engagement Dr. Heather Kenney. “We want to partner with all students to help them become successful and addressing their hunger is of the most fundamental needs we can supply.”

The H.O.P.E. Food Pantry, staffed by FSCJ students and employees, also seeks to heighten awareness of food insecurity and sustainable food practices, while also educating its customers on food insecurity and hunger issues. Food pantry customers will complete an anonymous survey about their experience to help the College develop an understanding of how it can provide additional resources and services to support academic and personal success. The data collected through spring and summer 2017 will help determine if the pantry will be expanded to other campuses.

Donations to the food pantry are welcome and may be delivered to the South Campus location or at the student life lounge located on each campus. High need items includefoods that can be stored safely at room temperature, grab-and-go meals and snacks such as granola bars, peanut butter or cheese crackers, popcorn, tuna with crackers snack kits, pudding cups, fruit cups, unrefrigerated microwave meals, canned food items with pop-top lids, 100% juice drinks, bottled water and nuts. Can openers are another item of great need.

About FSCJ

Florida State College at Jacksonville (FSCJ) is a public, nonprofit higher education institution that offers more than 150 degree and certificate programs to meet the education and training needs of more than 50,000 students per year.