LeadMN presented North Hennepin Community College with a Hunger Free Campus award Oct. 28. Pictured left to right during the award ceremony are Lindsay Fort, NHCC director of student development; Ali Tomashek, LeadMN public relations coordinator and an NHCC student; Julia Salinas, NHCC social worker; James Sellers, NHCC intern; and Rolando Garía, president of NHCC.

Brooklyn Park’s North Hennepin Community College was recently named a Hunger Free Campus by LeadMN, an organization that represents the state’s two-year college students.

“Ultimately, we know that if a student is hungry, they are not going to be able to focus in class,” said Lindsay Fort, dean of student development. “If students are worried about food for themselves or their family, it will be more difficult to succeed in school. We want to make sure that students aren’t hungry while here on campus, and when they go home there is a stable food source, so they can complete their educational goals.”

To be named a Hunger Free Campus, a college must meet a minimum set of criteria. They must have a food pantry, food bank, or another type of food distribution system for students on campus, have a designated staff member to educate students on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and other public services designed to prevent food insecurity, provide emergency assistance funds to students that are insecure in their basic needs, have a task force dedicated to food insecurity and host at least one hunger awareness event a year.

North Hennepin Community College meets all these criteria.

The college used portions of a $55,000 Minnesota Department of Education meal access grant and a $21,000 Hennepin County food insecurity grant to purchase a refrigerator and freezer to provide fresh and frozen meals to students in need.

LeadMN visited the campus Oct. 28 to raise basic needs awareness and present the college with the award.

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