Cuyahoga Community College has many resources on campus for students in need. One of these key resources, is the Foodbank maintained by Student Government. Any student who is currently enrolled in classes and has a Tri-C Card can get access to the foodbank. It is located in A-101 in the Student Government office. Students are allowed to take up to twelve items from the foodbank every seven days, providing much needed support for students struggling to get by.
However, there are still challenges that Student Government has faced in trying to get people to show up. Speaking with Mark Rodriguez, Director of Student Life and Recreation at Tri-C West, who is also the advisor for Student Government, he explained one of the biggest challenges that the Student Foodbank faces is that students feel uncomfortable coming in. According to Mark, many of the students, and even non-students who visit regular foodbanks, often feel this stigma of “You must be poor, you must be really needy, why do you need to do that?” Mark’s approach to dealing with this stigma is just to have the students running the foodbank to be kind, courteous, and make people feel welcome. This has kept the Student Foodbank growing, and kept it going for eleven years now.
According to Mark, it has been proven that 36% of all college students are food deficient or have food insecurity. While this number does not reflect Tri- C’s students solely, it is an alarming number of college students who are struggling to get by and be able to eat while working and studying for their classes. Thankfully, services like foodbanks exist, and the one here at Tri-C West has definitely helped out many students who need a little extra help to get through it all.
Fresh Produce Days are something else that Student Government offers once a month in order to help students have access to fresh produce, which isn’t offered at the Student Foodbank. According to Mark, he says “Fresh produce is important because people who are food deficient lack the means to acquire healthy food, so they buy cheaper food which is not as nutritious.”
The Student Government Foodbank is in room A-100 in Health Careers and Technology, with hours of operation posted right outside the door. The next Fresh Produce Day will be on October 18th from 11:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. If you have food deficiency in any way, please stop by and take advantage of this service offered here at Tri-C West.