A free grocery program for students is among the innovative initiatives Hennepin Technical College has launched to address food insecurity on campus. Now in recognition of the school’s efforts, LeadMN has named the college a Hunger Free Campus.
LeadMN, which represents Minnesota’s public two-year college students, established the program to encourage colleges statewide to make substantial gains in addressing food insecurity among student populations. Hennepin Tech met the organization’s key criteria to earn the Hunger Free designation.
“Many of our students are parents of young children and their budgets are stretched to the limits,” said Jessica Lauritsen, vice president of student affairs. “Making sure that our students and their families have enough to eat is imperative. As a campus community, we care deeply about our students and strive for ways to help them with basic needs.”
In fall 2019, the #realcollege survey found that 40% of Hennepin Tech students indicated they were food insecure in the past 30 days, which means they do not have a steady source of food or cannot afford to feed themselves or their families.
Recently, Hennepin Tech collaborated with a Minneapolis nonprofit group, Good in the ‘Hood, to provide free groceries to students in need. Due to the COVID-19 emergency and skyrocketing unemployment, the college is seeing an increase in demand for the free grocery program.