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March 21, 2019
March 21, 2019, Jersey City, NJ – Food insecurity among college students is so pervasive that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has issued a report on it. Last fall, a Harvard Graduate School of Education professor collaborated on a “white paper” about food insecurity on college campuses with a Harvard graduate, who is now the marketing manager at a national food service provider.
Food insecurity is defined as not having access to nutritious, affordable food. The GAO reports that up to 50 percent of the nation’s community college students experience food insecurity. Further, reports estimate that more than one out of ten of the nation’s college students is homeless. Even though a higher percentage of students from low-income homes are enrolling in college, the number of students whose households face poverty has increased.
First-generation college students, those who are raising children, and single parents often face insurmountable obstacles to college completion according to recent studies. Among U.S. community college students, 42 percent or more struggle to pay for balanced meals. When such stressors become overwhelming, these students often skip meals, lose focus on their studies, and/or drop out.
Hudson County Community College (HCCC) is committed to providing resources to help all HCCC students achieve their college goals. The College provides financial assistance to 83 percent of its student body. Now it is taking steps to assist those who have trouble putting food on their tables.
HCCC President Dr. Chris Reber announced that the College will hold the official opening of its Journal Square Campus food pantry on Tuesday, March 26, 2019, at 11 a.m. in Room J002 of the J-Building at 2 Enos Place in Jersey City, NJ. The pantry, which was renovated and stocked with funding from the HCCC Foundation, will house nonperishable food items for students and members of the College community. A second pantry will open on the HCCC North Hudson Campus – 4800 Kennedy Boulevard in Union City – on Tuesday, April 9 at 1:30 p.m.
“It is devastating to know that any member of the HCCC community may be struggling with a lack of food, and we hope that this food pantry will ease and eliminate any hunger and food insecurity that may exist among the campus population,” noted Associate Dean of Student Affairs Dr. David Clark, who has provided leadership for the project.
President Reber said he knows there is often a stigma attached to using a food pantry. “This food pantry is a labor of love. It is a collaboration of our students, faculty, staff and Foundation Board members. We are working to dispel any stigma by making the pantry as friendly, welcoming and discreet as possible,” he stated.
Donations of nonperishable food items, personal care products, and household paper goods will be accepted at 2 Enos Place, Room J002, on the College’s Journal Square Campus and at the Enrollment Services Center on the North Hudson Campus (4800 Kennedy Boulevard in Union City).
The HCCC Foundation is accepting monetary donations. Checks made payable to “HCCC Foundation” with the notation, "Food Pantry," on the memo line may be sent to Hudson County Community College Foundation, 70 Sip Avenue – Fourth Floor, Jersey City, NJ 07306. Monetary donations may also be made online by clicking the “Donate” button on the bottom of the page at https://www.hccc.edu/community/foundation/index.html.